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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: 22 July 2018



Humor, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies

(p.233) Coda
A Decade of Dark Humor

Arthur Asa Berger

University Press of Mississippi

This coda comments on the importance of humor in cultural studies and its place in pedagogy, cultural politics, and dissent. It argues that there is no “final word” on how popular culture can challenge and reinscribe dominant ideologies and discourses and that 9/11 and America’s reaction must be understood not solely through the dominant frames of fear, anger, and sadness. Instead, it emphasizes the need to look at how those frames can be broadened, opened, fragmented, or broken through a raised eyebrow, a quirked smile, and sometimes even an uncontrollable laugh. It considers four categories of humor: language (allusion, exaggeration, irony, puns), logic (absurdity, repetition, reversal, unmasking), identity (burlesque, caricature, exposure, parody), and action (slapstick and speed). It also examines various theories of humor, including superiority, psychoanalytic, incongruity, and communication theories. Finally, it looks at jokes and humorous texts about 9/11.

Keywords:   humor, cultural studies, pedagogy, cultural politics, dissent, popular culture, 9/11, theories, jokes, communication

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