Humor Studies Comparative Review On Thesis

Each author subsisted to two (2) different kinds of perspectives, which make up the second and third critical elements of the comparative analysis component of this paper. Berger analyzed humor based on social and political perspectives. Usage of these perspectives was most useful in discussing the two typologies of humor he thoroughly discussed in the book: satire and folly. Satire as a type of humor drew upon important concept that makes up its core: "militant irony" (158-9). Folly, meanwhile, was best characterized through the concepts "absurd" and "reality in a looking glass" (176).

Satire gives humor a political aspect to it, as illustrated in the term "military irony," which Berger defined as "a term derived from war, it is an attitude of attack that is part of a campaign against someone or something." Interestingly, the author qualified that satire need not have the 'brutality' that comes with military irony; however, he also claimed that "satire that is overly gentle liquidates itself" (156-7).

As a political vehicle to be used for or against an individual, group, or ideology, satire draws power from its directness and brutality. This is the reason why satire is best applied in the political arena: no other types of humor persuades people more effectively than satire, since it contains all the necessary elements needed to communicate correctly and effectively, such as wit, persuasiveness (level of persuasion), and 'truth' in the form of an expose or newfound information.

Folly, meanwhile, takes its origins from the concept of absurdity -- a deviation from reality, which made Berger term this type of humor as similar to viewing 'reality in a looking glass.' While satire's strength comes from its high level of persuasion...


Moreover, folly is oftentimes best expressed in the nonsensical form, unlike satire, which is best communicated through the no-nonsensical approach (178). Satire differs from folly in that the latter communicates a distorted sense of reality -- real scenarios, but are somewhat exaggerated, to the point of being ridiculous.
Critchley used the physical anthropology perspective to describe humor, its nature and dynamics. The author argued that humor was a function of both "nature and culture," wherein the act of smiling and laughing that are associated to humor was considered as an important indicator that distinguishes humans from other animals: "...the transformation of the social meaning of this physiological act is one testament to the distance of human culture from animal life" (28). In addition to this biological foundation of humor, the author also developed the thesis that humor is also culture-bound. Humor is a cultural concept, according to Critchley, because it represented one's reflection of his or her experience, based on what was the perceived message of the stimulus (i.e., a humorous act and/or message). Thus, the author claimed that in being cultural, humans demonstrated themselves as "eccentric, because they live beyond the limits set for them by nature by taking up a distance from their immediate experience" (28). Since experience is value-laden and belief-dependent, interpretation of humor, in effect, becomes a culturally-influenced process within, between, and among communicator/s.

Works Cited

Berger, P. (1997). Redeeming Laughter: the Comic Dimension of Human Experience. Walter de Gruyter.

Critchley, S. (2002). On Humour. Routledge.

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Berger, P. (1997). Redeeming Laughter: the Comic Dimension of Human Experience. Walter de Gruyter.

Critchley, S. (2002). On Humour. Routledge.

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