Carrion Comfort and How Different Artists Portray Sadness.

Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
With darksome devouring eyes my bruisèd bones? and fan,
O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee?

Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod,
Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, chéer.
Cheer whom though? the hero whose heaven-handling flung me, fóot tród
Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year
Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.

Is comedy more accepted in dealing with traumatic events in today’s world? From what I understand, Gerard Manley Hopkins writes profoundly bleak and depressing pieces of poetry. This one in particular centers around a man with anger towards god for creating man and the inherited suffering that they are cursed to experience. This concept of suffering has been discussed in and out as time went on. From television dramas to emo music of the mid 2000’s. However one of the ways some individuals deal with this feeling of existential meaningless, is to make light of the situation. I Understand that there were writers and poets such as Shakespeare who literally wrote “tragic comedies.” However in today’s world, there is a large amount of nihilism and existential dread found in a lot of everyday comedy. Like the memes we see everyday on facebook and other social media platforms. An example of this is a facebook group called “casual nihilism.” In it, people post relatable and somewhat depressing memes and content relating to how life is inherently meaningless. However, all of these posts are (for the most part) comedic and relatable. Another example of nihilistic comedy, was the content creator and youtube sensation known as “Filthy Frank.” In many of his sketch comedies on his youtube channel, he would often make offensive jokes centered around god, existence, and the inherent meaningless of life.

This photo/meme here is from a sketch comedy video starring George Miller Ian Carter. The video itself is not about existential dread or nihilism, but this frame here personifies how artists from all different walks of time deal or express nihilism and a bitterness towards god. I think as humans, we try our hardest to see the light (or in this case, humor) in situations where there might not be any. It is just interesting to me how that changes throughout the course of human history.

6 thoughts on “Carrion Comfort and How Different Artists Portray Sadness.

  1. I love the old filthy frank reference! I can very much see how the nihilistic/existential dread side of his persona can be compared to Hopkins attitude in this poem. Your last line says how it interesting how this portrayal changes throughout history, I’d say it is also interesting how much stays the same. I’m sure when Hopkins was writing his poem he took himself very seriously. Nowadays, I read his poem and think, “I’ve heard it all before”. The pity, the dread, the confusion at a creator. So many authors are always writing about asking god why. The difference between Hopkins and someone like filthy frank though, is that the youtuber is aware that it is relatable yet ironic, even dramatic at times. When I read those last lines of Hopkins poem I was almost disappointed to realize he was talking about/to god. It would be more interesting wihtout the religious aspect I believe.

  2. I love the photo you added to this, haha! Good job on this post, I completely see your point. I often find myself making light of a serious situation with somewhat nihilistic jokes.

  3. Today’s nihilistic comedy is in part a result of the 20th century literary movement of Modernism, Post-Modernism, and Absurdism. The bleakness of Hopkins turns into the absurdity of Becket, which then becomes the nihilistic comedy of Filthy Frank.

  4. For every dark humour joke I’ve found there to be bleak outlooks as well. I think the newer generations of dealing with trauma with humour as a coping mechanism is part of why depictions of things like Hopkin’s poetry have fallen out of favor. There are entire generations of children who grew up being told that if they cry they’ll get something to cry about. I think a lot of people try to find a different outlet for it.

    1. You make a great point! And, going off of that, I know some people use self-deprecating humor towards themselves to cope with their low self-esteem and perceived flaws. I’ve heard that this is bad to do, as it just reinforces the negativity one has towards themselves and maintains that mindset. I’ve heard that some therapists will suggest things like writing compliments towards one’s self on sticky notes and putting it on the mirror to read and combat the negativity, and that praising yourself is better because it doesn’t reinforce the bleak outlook. Overall, it kind of reminds me of how, in Jane Eyre, Jane had drawn a portrait of herself vs miss Ingram to reinforce to herself that she was unattractive and unworthy of love. It shows how damaging the self-deprecating mindset can be.

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