Some samples of his humor:
Geraldo Rivera on his knees saying his bedtime prayers, "Thank you, God, for all the tragedy, wretchedness and perversion in the world."
A man saying, "Call me a gimp, call me a cripple, call me paralyzed for life, but just don't call me something that I'm not."
A cartoon called "The Alzheimer Hoedown," depicted confused couples at a square dance. They were wandering around scratching their heads unable to follow the instructions to "return to the girl that you just left."
How does he get away with such humor? You begin to understand when you find out Callahan himself is paralyzed.
His cartoons have produced a lot of angry responses, but not from the handicapped and the diseased. They have most often expressed appreciation.
Here is an example of the truth of Conrad Hyer's words: "...humor...may ...express a certain heroic defiance in the face of life's most crushing defeats, an unquenchable nobility of spirit that refuses to permit a given fate or oppressor to have the last word---to be absolute. The human spirit has not been utterly vanquished. The will to live and the determination to continue the struggle, or the faith that the struggle will be continued, has not been finally conquered. Where there is humor there is still hope" (emphasis is mine).
I believe we find echoes of this too in Hebrews 12:2: "...Jesus who, for the sake of the joy that lay ahead of him, endured the cross, making light of its disgrace..."
©C. David Hess