Monday, April 15, 2013

Introduction to humour

Students always require a 400 word article for a 500 word essay.
Some ancient history

  • Latin
    • Formulated by Hippocrates
      • c.460-370B.C.
    • Further developed by Galen
      • 129-199 AD
    • Based on four elements
      • Four humors or fluids
      • Earth, fire, water, wind
      • Related to colours
    • Disease resulted from imbalance
Yellow bile
  • Choleric
  • Element: fire
  • Attributes: warm, dry
  • Too much:
    • Hot-tempered, easily upset
Black bile
  • Melancholy
  • Element: earth
  • Attributes: cold, dry
  • Too much:
    • Gloomy, depressed, dejected
  • Sanguine
    • Person who always has rosy natural cheeks
  • Element: air
  • Attributes: warm, moist
  • Too much
    • Cheerful, over-confident
  • Phlegmatic
  • Element: water
  • Attributes: cold, moist
  • Too much
    • Apathetic, sluggish
  • Fluids determined
    • Disposition, character, morality
  • Humour = mood/state of mind
  • Correct balance = good humour
  • Imbalance = out of humour
  • Humorists
    • Possessed too much of one humour
  • Became objects of ridicule
  • Extended to anyone
    • Skilled at producing ideas, stories
    • Make others laugh
If you have a system that's working you must be doing something wrong. 

What happens when you cross a librarian and a lawyer? 
You can get all the information you want, but you can’t understand it.
How humour works 
  • Are there any new jokes?
    • Structure remains the same
      • But content varies
  • Element of surprise
    • Compare
      • What you expect with what you actually encounter
  • Freud
    • Part of pleasure: result of exercising intellect to understand a joke
    • o “higher” level thinking
      • E.g. puns
Functions of humour
  • Coping
    • Deal with problems/conflicts
    • Step back from seriousness of situation
    • “look on the light side”
    • Release pent-up emotions/tensions
    • Eases social situations
  • Outlet for (otherwise) repressed behaviour
  • Freud:
    • Unconscious level
      • Strong impulses
  • Not allowed direct expression
    • But can “joke” about it
      • Helps control/regulate those feelings
  • Revert to childhood feelings of play
    • Freud
      • Adults tire of society’s demands for rigorous, logical thinking and rational thinking
  • Need an escape mechanism
  • Bond to others in our social group
  • Reinforces group identity
    • Laugh with others
      • Not laughing?
  • Control “straying” members
  • Enhances teaching and learning
  • Has strong recuperative powers
    • Anatomy of an illness by Norman Cousins
Conditions necessary for joke appreciation
  • Adequate intelligence
  • Adequate/appropriate language skills
    • Verbal humour
  • Sufficient life experience to know what is “normal”
Lightbulb jokes!
How many library system managers does it take to change a light bulb?
All of them as the manual was lost in the last move (or flood).

How many reference librarians does it take to change a light bulb? 

(With a perky smile) “Well, I don’t know right off-hand, but I know where we can look it up!”
Techniques used in literature
  • Humorous characterizations
  • Elements of surprise
  • Language
  • Dialect
  • Puns
  • Understatement
  • Departure from logic
  • Compare and contrast
  • Satire
  • Incongruity
Stephen Leacock Award
Leacock medal for humour

More humour
Warrior librarian
The Lipstick librarian!

No comments: