The Need for Humor In the American Conversation

By November 17th, 2013

The Role of Humor and Levity in Our Renewed American Conversation; Examples of Absurdities in Our Ameircan Life

by Mack W. Borgen


“Stimulating, refreshing, and original…” Wayne S. Bell, Chief Counsel, California Dep’t of Real Estate, Sacramento, California

“…(A)stonishing undertaking…” Brigadier General Dulaney O’Roark, (Ret), Louisville, Kentucky

“…(R)e-opens the doors to civil dialogue, Martha Lange, The Aspen Institute, Santa Barbara, California

A Set of Two Companion Book

Presenting The Hard Facts and Real Data About the State of Current America

By Mack W. Borgen



“Top 1.3% of Books Among All Current Book Sales as of October 15, 2013″

Vol 1 – BUSINESS AND POLITICS (408 pp) (July, 2013)

Vol. 2 – SOCIETY AND CULTURE  (438 pp) (October, 2013),, or Ask for These Books at Your Local Bookstore

Order The Relevance of Reason - Business and Politics (2013)

The Need for Humor In the American Conversation

The reasons for the inclusion of humor, levity and even the absurd  (both in the books The Relevance of Reason and in our American conversation) are far more than matters of style. Americans have not taken a deep breath in two decades. We have forgotten how humor and levity can be humanizing. They can help us take the edge off our conversations. They may be the best means by which to slowly changed the scowling, go-figure tone of our current American conversation. Americans have forgotten that we laugh better than we argue, and we have let the list of toxic subjects grow too long — guns and butter, was and peace, the role of government, states’ rights, church and state, personal and civic responsibility, and a long litany of culture war subjects. Each of these subjects brings forth a witches brew of emotions as our frustrations, disillusionments, and anger surface too often and too readily.

Adapted from The Relevance of Reason – Vol 1- Business and Econ0mics, p. 20. and The Relevance of Reason – Vol 2- Society and Culture, p. 20.

The Facts of the Day

It is recognized that the very concept of what may or may not be an absurdity is highly subjective. It is possible that some of the things hereinbelow listed as examples of “absurdities” in American life are merely the exuberant and sometimes harmless wildnesses, passions, obsessions, extravagances, and mere quirks of others. The partial list is not included to dismiss or even denigrate these items. Instead, the list is included solely as an attempt to help lighten the spirits (if not the loads) of our commonly-shared American life and as selective examples of the many curious, mind-challenging aspects of American life which add, for some, awe and wonder and for others pause, shock and in some instances even disappointment or judgmental disapproval.

Just a  few examples of what, by some,  may be calmed absurdities are as follows:

24-Mile Space Jump by Daredevil Felix Baumgartner. This jump from the earth’s stratosphere was made by Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian daredevil who at one point travelled at 833.9 mph– fast enough to become the first person to ever individually break the sound barrier.

Air Travel – TSA-Full-Body Pat-Down of 4-Year-Old. Isabella Brademayer, a Montana girl, was subjected to a full body pat-down after she hugged her grandmother while passing through security.

Amount of Money the Late Leona Helmsley Bequethed to Her Dog, Trouble. $12MM in 2009. The dog died in 2012.

Anyone Going by the Name “The Situation” (aka Mike Sorentino) or (The Artist formerly known As …”). “The Situation” is, well, just a situation, but this absurdity could arguably apply to anyone who, even despite his talent or brilliance, changes his name to an un-pronounceable love symbol and who presumably has to sign his checks “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince (aka Prince Rogers Nelson). Possibly there is some name-changing custom in Minnesota if which many American are unaware. Prince was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and — from the name “Prince” no less – changed his name in 1993, at the appr. age of 345. Robert Allen Zimmerman was born in Duluth, Minnesota, nearly 17 years earlier, and he too changed his name. He is now known around the world as Bob Dylan.

Auction Prices. Chewbacca’s headpiece was sold at auction for $182,000 — which is nothing compared with the $4.6MM which was paid for the dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in the famous subway grate scene in the Seven Year Itch.

Pet Obesity Center Opened in Massachusetts. For $250 the pet receives medical assistance ands the pet and their owners meet with a pet nutritionist.

Sports – Tennis-Decibels of Sharapova’s “Screeches and Grunts.” The “screeches and grunts” in question have been measured at 101 decibels, “or roughly the loudness of a chain saw.”

Borgen, M., The Relevance of Reason – Vol 2, – Society and Culture (2013), pp. 267-270, citing The Week, March 30, 2012; Time, August 13, 2012, p. 9; Time, July 4, 2011, p. 111. The Week, October 5, 2012 citing CSMonitor,com.  

Get Your Copy of Vols 1 and 2 of Mack W. Borgen’s The Relevance of Reason at,, or



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