I eat my peas with honey, I've
done it all my life
It makes the peas taste funny
but it keeps them on the knife.
Please ptell me Pterodactyl, who ptaught you how pto fly?
Good humour, wit, laughter, riddles, puns, absurdities, clowning,
zany ideas and jokes with surprises in them help to make life funnier
and survival bearable. Humour gives you a sense of perspective about
your own problems. Laughing can help you to feel happier.
But there can be stupid humour too.
- Bully humour, in which people laugh with the
bully, who has the last word and the punch-line in the comic strip.
This encourages bullying in real life too, giving bullies lines to
justify their torture and persecution. In good humour it is the
little battler who has the last word and the punch-line.
- Practical jokes can be funny and clever, when everyone
concerned finds them funny. Theodore Hook once had a party where
every third person had food that was made of uncuttable flannel or
plaster, yet their neighbors seemed to be eating with pleasure. The
joke was not prolonged, so everyone was able to laugh as real food
was supplied. The criterion for a practical joke that is stupid is
when the victim cries, "That's not funny!"
- When the study of humour is made too serious a business.
Today you can go to conferences and read learned journals just about
humour. There are probably Professors of Humour who do not make
jokes; they just analyse them.
- ¥ Claiming that all jokes are at bottom about sex or
violence. This is nonsense but hardly funny nonsense. Yet there
are books of research claiming this, because their scope is too
narrow and usually contemporary and culture-bound.
- ¥ When satire and other humour with a message raise laughs
but no action. Erasmus wrote the Ship of Fools - "Marvellous!" said
the Renaissance readers, who went on being foolish. Jonathan Swift
wrote about Gulliver's Travels, satirising how stupid human behaviour
can be about nationalism, war, government, religion, science and
life-style - and people give the book to their children.
I hope readers can laugh at these Web-Pages - but I hope each
reader can also do something about one at least of all the stupid
things that need to be changed.
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