bibliomancy for a festival

“I termed this the forepleasure principle. This refers to laughter in anticipation of joking, laughter that there is a joke going on or laughter just for its own sake.” (Hillman, Cookbook, p80)

Its so darn hot outside that even all the festivities going on in town won’t move me from my cool quiet cave.

Writer’s Week – meh. Who needs it, I can read all about it in the next newsletter – its an outdoor event for lawd’s sake. The Fringe Festival – even that Garden of Unearthly Delights, as tempting as sitting in a gigantic tent (read; heat trap) full of sweating, smelly humanity. Ick.

Oh what a downer, Dan.

Well, OK – we just had that lovely new moon which in other times and places was a celebration of Bacchus or Dionysus, that dastardly son of Zeus and God of all earthly pleasures. It kinda calls for a more indulgent and joyous tone, doesn’t it? At least a little dirtier and sweatier – in a good way?

It occurs to me that Bacchanalia never took place during a heat wave. But its easy enough to imagine that honouring the divine patron of bad behaviour could take place around, say, a log fire, involve plenty of good wine (perhaps warmed up, accompanied by good cheese) and lewd gossip.

A bit like a typical girls night in? In fact the festival was just for women, and held in secret – and considering Bacchus’ (or Dionysus, if you prefer) phallic nature, no doubt it was always an occasion for mirth, although not very ‘spiritual’.

Which brings us back to the business at hand. Humour, wit and laughter.

Perhaps with the sun in Pisces and Jupiter ruling the sky its time to turn to all things, er Jovial – but this week I’ve found myself explaining my need to laugh at most inappropriate things.

And I do – during sex, for one thing. Not entirely conducive to successful intercourse, but dammit its so funny. Manly parts are comedic, adorably so, and all that bouncing around, well you get the picture.

I also find the subject of death lacking in gravity (where does this comes from?) as well as giving birth. Yes, I did crack up during labour all five times and I have witnesses.

I laugh so hard at the Rigger’s dumb filthy jokes I’m left dizzy. When my sister and I get together we’re known to collapse in a single pile over nothing – limbs weak to the point we can’t get up and braying uncontrollably for minutes beyond the joke. Then we laugh some more because we’re such a sight.

My mother and I wheeze and hold our sides in supermarkets over her batty misuse of language, trying not to make a sound, heaving even harder standing there with legs crossed in front of the incontinence products.

Upon news of small misfortunes and minor tragedies I attempt to keep a straight face, knowing as I do that I’m expected to at least chuckle – and of course the pressure to maintain seriousness is usually cause enough for you know what.

See? Not funny, any of it. Not intelligent either.

It seems that there’s another humour not dependent on wit or words – about something more than the mind and making connections. It comes from a different place entirely. And its Not Allowed.

There are, of course, officially sanctioned occasions for community practice of transgressive humour, within bounds. There are days for mischief and upsetting the order of things – to mock life and death; festivals, carnivals, Mardi Gras. We have gross humour movies, television and such.

We can watch, we can enjoy other’s enactment. One doesn’t see huge wooden statues of Priapus these days though – the dirtier fun side of life doesn’t belong in daily ritual. We prefer things clean, antibacterial and white.

Perhaps a soulful existence – one that is not polytheistic and honours all our parts (and when I use the word honour I’m really talking about acceptance and love) means letting ourselves be inappropriate and disorderly every day. Maybe its a deep human need to get base, grotty, gross and stupid from time to time – intoxicated? I think so.

Alright, pass me that bottle of red.

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