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Barry Crimmins <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 4 Jul 1998 17:29:09 -0400
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At 2:57 PM -0400 7/3/98, Vern Crisler wrote:
>I find it hard to think of anything to write about Mark Twain's thought.  I
>wonder if it's because I've lost interest (being cloyed with too much
>reading of him over the years), or because Twain wasn't really a thinker.
>Maybe it's because he was more of an intuitive rather than a discursive
>writer.  Comedy does seem to be more about the intuitive grasp of
>incongruous things or events, etc, and it cannot be easily analyzed without
>removing the surprise occasioned by the incongruities.
>I've never really been impressed by Twain's views on anything in particular
>(such as his non-standard view of Shakespearean authorship), but was always
>more impressed by the way he stated his views.
>Can a deep thinker really ever be a funny man?  Or can a funny man ever
>really be a deep thinker?  Or do the two modes of looking at the world
>exclude one another?

I hope that intellect is not the sole domain of the dry, inaccessible and
boring. Any dope can petrify others into a coma with his/her expertise and
views. It  takes a certain genius to effectively smuggle content to a
general audience. People let their guard down when they are laughing. A
smart and subversive humorist will make sure that before that guard is
brought back up, it protects at least a somewhat more sophisticated point
of view.

Humorists are as diverse a group as, say,  any college faculty. There are
lightweight, obvious jokesters, there are learned lampooners of all that
deserves to be targeted. There are all sorts in between. They come in every
gender, age, race, nationality, religion.  No hard and fast rule  should be
applied to such a varied group of people.

 I was very impressed with Twain's views on many issues, but then, I'd like
to think I have a sense of humor. I allow that it may just be that I  do
not possess the intellectual depth required to make such an assessment.
That said, if a sense of humor belies a shallow mind, why do they call it

Barry Crimmins