The opposite of funny

Mr. McCabe thinks that I am not serious but only funny, because Mr. McCabe thinks that funny is the opposite of serious. Funny is the opposite of not funny, and of nothing else.

 

The question of whether a man expresses himself in a grotesque or laughable phraseology, or in a stately and restrained phraseology, is not a question of motive or of moral state, it is a question of instinctive language and self-expression. Whether a man chooses to tell the truth in long sentences or short jokes is a problem analogous to whether he chooses to tell the truth in French or German. Whether a man preaches his gospel grotesquely or gravely is merely like the question of whether he preaches it in prose or verse.

The question of whether Swift was funny in his irony is quite another sort of question to the question of whether Swift was serious in his pessimism. Surely even Mr. McCabe would not maintain that the more funny ‘Gulliver’ is in its method the less it can be sincere in its object. The truth is, as I have said, that in this sense the two qualities of fun and seriousness have nothing whatever to do with each other, they are no more comparable than black and triangular.

Mr. Bernard Shaw is funny and sincere. Mr. George Robey is funny and not sincere. Mr. McCabe is sincere and not funny. The average Cabinet Minister is not sincere and not funny.

—G. K. Chesterton, Heretics

Comments

  1. Jeff DuMond says:

    I just finished End of Earth and Sky. It was pretty good- when is the sequel available?

    • Thanks kindly!

      I’m working on a couple of small projects right now to bring in a bit of ready money. I intend to turn to The Grey Death next, for a fall release.

  2. Jeff DuMond says:

    Sounds good. It was well done – just left me wanting more : )

  3. Heretics, what a wonderful book. . . .

  4. I love that quote.

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