18 January 2014
The Happiness Store: A Place to be Happy in Less Mundane Ways Gary Larson has brought laughter to many people by his popular long-running comic called The Far Side. In one of these cartoon series, the character names Crawley was told by his friends: “You cannot buy happiness”. However, “Mr. Crawley surmised that they just didn’t know where the store was” (Figure 1). Humorously, Mr. Crawley’s conclusion about the reason why his friends could never buy happiness may be comical and eccentric, but it conveys Larson’s message about a common and reflective argument in our life as he identifies people’s different aspects of happiness and ways to accomplish it. Is simply painted in black and white with captions at the bottom, the single rectangular panel makes it easier for the readers to recognize Larson’s typical painting style and his message throughout the comic. Looking at the panel, what impresses viewers at the first glance is the “Happiness” store with a remarkable, large signboard on the corner of a crowded street. On the pane of glass, there are several flyers for advertisement such as “Complete your life”. Besides, that store selling happiness is the place which Mr. Crawley’s friends – the characters in the comic did not know. Thus, they were unable to purchase happiness. The hilarious point is that “happiness” is an abstract, ungraspable definition; how come there is a store selling it? Nevertheless, according to Henri Bergson – the author of “Laughter: An essay on the meaning of the comic”, the comic has logic of its own, even in its wildest eccentricities (Bergson). Since happiness is the most desirable and pleasant thing in the world, people may easily get the joke. After laughing, they start thinking and come up with some questions: Can we buy happiness? Where can we buy happiness? They are some of the most heavily disputed and researched questions of all time. In the first...
Cited: Bergson, Henri. “Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic” 1900. Trans. Cloudesely
Brereton and Fred Rothwell. N. pag. Project Gutenberg. August 2003. Web. 10 Jan 2014.
Larson, Gary. “The Far Side”. Cartoon. www.pinterest.com. Far Side sure miss you Larson.
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