Monday, March 20, 2006

The Word of a Gentleman: Rule Twelve

A Gentleman is not a Clown.
He has command of his passions.

Extremes in behavior are rarely needed. In war you might be called upon to throw yourself on a handgrenade but in the day to day life of a stable society, extremes of action and voice are to be measured by cause. I do not say "measured by need" because, by definition, extremes exceed the need. To act in extreme is to act by a passion fueled assessment which shows a lack of understanding of the actions the circumstance would truly be benefited by. One of the passions that fuels the clown is that of self attention. The normal circumstance and the appropriate action does not award enough, rapidly enough, of what the clown desires. He must be louder, cruder, and be breaking with the contained peace of a moment. Another passion is that of "stirring things up" so, as he assesses it, the moment would not be so boring. In his mind, order is boring and chaos is excitement. His hyperbole and raucous behavior is a self-conscious act to liven things. He provides what the drunk provides. The clown with the proverbial lampshade on his head decides that humor driven by wit is outside his range and with the philosophy of the lower primates combines the unlikely elements to gain a laugh. On every axis of the social moment (volume, movement, content) this disrupter reaches for the point past the outside limit. He wants to be thought funny or he wishes the others would be having fun that he understands. He is admitting in this that he is not bright enough for the tone of the moment and is brazen enough to do something about it. He needs the "large-print" version as his lack of soul-acuity cannot read what a Gentleman can. His only other choice is to admit his blindness. A Gentleman, even without an excellent sense of humor, will always serve the peace of the circumstance. If it means that he has less to say, so be it. The extremes of clownishness leaves everyone else with nothing to say. In his performance, the clown can only include other clowns or victims. And as a performer his behavior is off to the side, on an emotionally suspect stage, to which the rest of his society did not assent.

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