Cheerless Puritans Invariably Burn Out

“Hang on to one of your most precious parts of youth,
laughter—don’t lose it as many of you seem to have done,
you need it.”—Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals:
A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals (1971)

Malcolm X
Malcolm X laughed often and much. He had, by all accounts, a delightful sense of humor.

An activist without a sense of humor is like a baby without an immune system: won’t live past five. Activists need to laugh more than most. It’s the only way that they can maintain their sanity. Cheerless puritans invariably burn out. What’s worse, they then proceed to get into yoga, self-help, and positive thinking. Before you know it, they’re telling you that “the best way to change the world is to change yourself” (a notion so self-evidently wrong that it’s laughable). Few years after that they’re voting conservative, moving to the suburbs, and working on a memoir about their silly days as an activist.

—John Faithful Hamer, From Here (2015)

About John Faithful Hamer

John Faithful Hamer is a college professor who still can't swim, drive, or pay his bills on time. His sense of direction is notoriously unreliable, yet he'd love to tell you where to go. His lack of practical skills is astounding, and his inability to fix things is renowned, yet he'd love to tell you what to do. His mismanagement of time is legendary, as is his inability to remember appointments, yet he fancies himself a philosopher and would love to tell you how to live. He wouldn't survive in a state of nature, of that we can be sure; but he's doing quite well in the big city, which has always been a refuge for the ridiculous, a haven for the helpless, and a friend to the frivolous.

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