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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

“Where was King Kong when we needed Him?”

“Where was King Kong when we needed Him?”

Public Discourse, Digital Disaster Jokes, and the Functions of Laughter after 9/111

(p.20) Chapter Two “Where was King Kong when we needed Him?”
A Decade of Dark Humor

Giselinde Kuipers

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines how people (as individuals and groups) came to terms with the 9/11 attacks and ensuing hawkish rhetoric by looking at alternative narrative forms, particularly Internet jokes circulated through e-mail that reflect themes targeting Osama bin Laden as well as patriotism, hostility, and degradation. More specifically, it considers the way the events of 9/11 affected American humor and the temporary moratorium on humor in the country, as well as the jokes that emerged, both in the United States and abroad, in the wake of 9/11. It discusses Internet-based jokes about 9/11 and their relationship with a predominantly American visual culture and argues that they are not meant to cope with grief and suffering. Instead, it views Internet jokes as a comment on the serious and mournful tone of public discourse and media culture surrounding the events of 9/11.

Keywords:   humor, 9/11, Internet jokes, Osama bin Laden, patriotism, United States, visual culture, public discourse, media culture

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