Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You can't spell "manslaughter" without "laughter"

During her three years in law school, Jess saw and heard many different lawyerly jokes. Some of them are more inside-jokey/"you really have to be a law nerd to understand this" than others, but there is one that is easily understood by nearly anyone: A t-shirt that says "You can't have manslaughter without laughter." (Don't get it? Psst! It's in the spelling!)

When she told me about this a few years ago, I thought, "wow, that's not funny." I let it marinade in the refrigerator of my mind for about a year, came back to it, and thought, "I guess it's funny in a black comedy kind of way." But now, my friends, 3 years later, I think I understand. You see, whomever came up with this realization (and subsequent t-shirt) has clearly seen really bad horror movies, like Jaws 4, Scream, and The Grudge 2. I just rented Blair Witch 2, and with the statement fresh in my mind, now I get it.

You see, I'm all for a terrible horror movie. I like to watch it, laugh at it, and make fun of it. I accept that going in. Example: There's a noise in the basement. The character goes to see what the noise was without turning on the lights, because clearly they are trying not to waste electricity. (I appreciate them being so green). I yell at them to turn the lights on, but of course they don't listen. They get down there. Scary music intensifies. They turn a corner and Bad Guy pops out. Manslaughter + terribly unrealistic special effects + stupid character you didn't really care about to begin with = laughter.

But that is where the laughter should stop. Things like Scary Movie should never happen. Let the bad horror movies stand alone in the manslaughter --> laughter department, I say.

Of course, it could also mean that if you're not laughing, no one will kill you. Hmm. Now I'm just not sure.

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