Sunday, September 1, 2013
Enter the Fat Dragon - dir. Sammo Hung. 1978. BAM.
A parody of Way of the Dragon in particular and Brucesploitation in general, by and starring the pudgy kung fu choreographer, director, and performer Sammo Hung.
Very funny. But occasionally one did not appreciate the audience's laughter. Granted, Enter the Fat Dragon is a comedy. But sometimes the audience's laughter seemed more derisive than participatory. Laughing at, rather than with. The same was true with Way of the Dragon. I was reminded of an article about the danger of watching things "ironically." I don’t think the problem with “ironic” viewing is that it is disrespectful to art or to artists but that it is disrespectful to oneself. There are ways of laughing at films and making jokes at them that increase our investment in them and enhance the experience of watching them, just like how shouting at the TV during a sporting event makes us care more about who wins, or how the ritual of prayer deepens our piety. But there are also ways of laughing at films that hold us at a distance from them. If you spend the whole time saying to yourself, “They can’t possibly be serious,” then you will never take anything seriously. People laugh “ironically” because they are afraid, afraid of something that is different or foreign to their experience, something they don’t know how to make sense of and which therefore makes them feel inadequate. It’s a matter of insecurity. “Ironic” laughter defends one against the experience of difference by rendering the hostile, foreign entity homogenous with the rest of one's experience, categorizing it something as “funny” or “ridiculous” or “absurd” or “laughable,” something one has already got figured out.