If yesterday was all about sentimentality, then let's swap it up for today and talk about dark humor. Also called black comedy, dark comedy, or gallows humor, it's basically being able to laugh at things that would normally be taboo.
Now, I'm not going to say that The Paladin is devoid of dark humor, but it's not to the extent that I've seen elsewhere. It's... a smattering. It what I think is appropriate given the dark nature of the job the paladins do. For instance (and this isn't the best example because, you know, spoilers), one character, Reagan, has an ongoing thing with correcting peoples' semantics. Especially in inappropriate times. Specifically, this instance deals with a demonic possession of a young girl and the description of her as "literally going through hell." Reagan, a paladin that has seen demons on a regular basis, corrects them. They didn't literally go through hell. He's familiar with Hell itself and just wanted to set the record straight.
Dark humor is something that, I think, becomes necessary when you have characters with jobs like the paladins. Laughter is something that keeps a person sane, especially in the face of overwhelming hardship, danger, or terror. The paladins deal with death, blood, and the powers of Hell on a fairly regular basis, so it makes sense, to me at least, that their sense of humor might be twisted.
So what about the appropriateness of dark humor in general? Well, as I've basically laid out, I think there's a time and place for it. I'm very much someone who believes in free speech. What author wouldn't be? Yes, there are times when things are inappropriate, but the fact that this humor exists is just that: a fact. It's not a reflection on anything political, just an observation that, given terrible conditions, humans will find a way to suss out the humor in the most terrible of conditions.
I think one of my favorite people that plays off dark humor is the musician Aurelio Voltaire. I like to invoke his name a lot, but when you're writing a book like The Paladin, it makes sense. His stuff isn't depraved by any means, but the jokes can be dark. They can be a little twisted at times, but in the end, they're still funny. His songs joke about death. They joke about hatred. They joke about things most people wouldn't joke about. And you know what? I'm okay with that because sometimes, making light of scary, heavy things can make them that much easier to digest.
And remember... Be Excellent To Each Other.
Leave a Reply.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.