The purpose of solemnity

November 12, 2013 | By | 2 Replies More

Yesterday I was walking through Arlington National Cemetery, when I saw the following signs dictating that those in the cemetery should be solemn.

IMG_3798 DC - lo res sign in cemetery

This sign made me think of the two-minute video in which John Cleese (of Monty Python fame) explains that people commonly confuse seriousness (which can be properly accompanied by laughter and frivolity, often enabling inspiration and catharsis) with solemnity. What is the purpose of solemnity?

IMG_3842 DC - sign 2 low res

It serves pomposity, and the self-important always know at some level of their consciousness that their egotism is going to be punctured by humor. That is why they see it as a threat. So they dishonestly pretend that their deficiency makes their view more substantial, when it only makes them feel bigger. [raspberry]. Humor is an essential part of spontaneity and an essential part of playfulness, and an essential part of the creative activity that we need to solve problems, no matter how serious they may be.

Apparently, humor (and other forms of free expression–something for which the soldiers allegedly died for–is more powerful than bullets.  We wouldn’t want people walking through the cemetery speaking out, especially using the weapon of humor, to question whether many of these soldiers died for lies, be it the alleged Gulf of Tonkin incident, the alleged weapons of mass destruction, or the other lie from the steady stream of lies that has kept America constantly at war. 

IMG_3947 graves - low res

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Category: Humor, Warmongering

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. Ben says:

    Arlington is one of the least exciting sights to see, agreed. Better off exploring the city by bike next time, countless museums and monuments, Georgetown, shops, locals, protests, architecture, music.

    The sign says “dignity and respect”, I didnt see solemn there. But assuming it was, I think they (park police) just want you not to bother other people who are there for reasons other than sightseeing (grieving). However, I now wonder if being jovial or telling one-liners at Kennedy’s flame is a punishable offense, such as how *dancing* is a punishable offense at the Jefferson memorial.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/150453268357946/

    • Erich Vieth says:

      I wasn’t thinking of clowning around. I was thinking of satire and biting humor aimed at the absurdity of America’s constant warmongering. Stopping needless wars is the best thing we could do for veterans. As long as we are muzzled by “solemnity,” it hard to get traction. Solemnity is a demand to ASSUME that the enterprise was valid, even when the enterprise was needless war.

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