Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lesson Nine: Macro/Micro

The Macro/Micro a/k/a M&m joke is one in which the larger, grand, even eternal concerns are contradicted by petty, workaday nitpicking.

Woody Allen describing someone, "His values are God and carpeting."

Merging the Macro (God) with micro (carpeting -- and notice the "k" sound) creates the laugh.

"Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends." -- Woody Allen again.

The Macro (concern about a Godless universe) with the micro (a plumber) creates the laugh.

M&m can also stand for the technique of everyday concerns leading to great philosophical pondering. The "Mongo only pawn in life's game" line from "Blazing Saddles."

"Get Smart" (the great television series created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry) used this style of joke frequently. The large concerns of saving the world vs. the petty concerns of Maxwell Smart. An episode to watch is "Strike While the Agent is Hot" as the agents of CONTROL deal with petty union complaints (micro) while they should be concerned with saving the world (Marco). Here's a link to the episode:

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