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A Decade of Dark HumorHow Comedy, Irony, and Satire Shaped Post-9/11 America$
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Ted Gournelos and Viveca Greene

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781617030062

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617030062.001.0001

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date: 23 July 2018

What’s so Funny about a Dead Terrorist?

What’s so Funny about a Dead Terrorist?

Toward an Ethics of Humor for the Digital Age1

(p.214) Chapter Twelve What’s so Funny about a Dead Terrorist?
A Decade of Dark Humor

Paul Lewis

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines what internationally powerful mass humor scandals/stories suggest about new directions for empirical research on humor and satire and highlights the need for a new kind of approach to humor studies in the digital age. Focusing on the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in Denmark and Jeff Dunham’s sketch “Achmed, the Dead Terrorist,” each of which features humor about terrorists and terrorism, it discusses the contrast between tactless and tactful treatments of potentially explosive materials after 9/11 and illustrates what happens when a joke goes wrong or when satire misfires.

Keywords:   humor, satire, cartoons, Prophet Muhammad, Denmark, Jeff Dunham, Achmed, the Dead Terrorist, terrorism, 9/11

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