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Anthropology of humor - Research Paper Example

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Summary
In looking around today’s world, sometimes it is difficult to see what there could be to laugh about. The economy is in the toilet, families are struggling to make ends meet, college students are wondering if there will be a use for their degree by the time they finally graduate…
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Anthropology of humor

Download file to see previous pages... The general mindset, though not in so many words, is “Hey, life is tough. I need a good laugh!” That’s because laughter has power. Humor is a force that can take life’s trials and cast them aside for a few moments. As such, when times are tough, people come to rely on humor more and more to add some color to their hum-drum world. The humor itself takes many different forms, and in that we can see its easy applicability. Between absurdity, hypothetical situations, religious humor, hate humor, and more, there is really no situation that cannot be touched by and enlivened with humor. True, there is some concern that perhaps humor can take Freedom of Speech to an inappropriate level, but the actual risk is minimal as we will see. Then, at the opposite end of the spectrum from Freedom of Speech is the refusal of some to indulge in humor. Unfortunately, there are those who feel that they must hold themselves back, or “self-censor,” in order to not damage their social standing with others. In such cases, it is debatable whether or not humor could improve the situation, but we will explore both sides of the argument. In essence, this paper will walk the gamut of humor, and will hopefully impart upon readers a more thorough understanding of humor and its uses. We begin with violence in humor. In American culture, violence permeates humor to an astounding extent. From one-liners to short-story-type jokes, many comedy bits have a violent tone to them. For example, there is the one-liner “The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on the list.” Then there is the much longer CIA joke (“Angel Fire”): A few months ago, there was an opening with the CIA for an assassin. These highly classified positions are hard to fill, and there's a lot of testing and background checks involved before you can even be considered for the position. After sending some applicants through the background checks, training and testing, they narrowed the possible choices down to 2 men and a woman, but only one position was available. The day came for the final test to see which person would get the extremely secretive job. The CIA men administering the test took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun. “We must know that you will follow your instructions no matter what the circumstances" they explained. "Inside this room, you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill her." The man got a shocked look on his face and said, "You can't be serious! I could never shoot my own wife!" "Well", says the CIA man, "You're definitely not the right man for this job then." So they bring the second man to the same door and hand him a gun. "We must know that you will follow instructions no matter what the circumstances", they explained to the second man. "Inside you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill her." The second man looked a bit shocked, but nevertheless took the gun and went in the room. All was quiet for about 5 minutes, then the door opened. The man came out of the room with tears in his eyes. "I tried to shoot her, but I just couldn't pull the trigger and shoot my wife. I guess I'm not the right man for the job." "No" the CIA man replied, "You don't have what it takes. Take your wife and go home." Now they're down to the woman left to test. Again they lead her to the same door to the same room and handed her the same gun. "We must be sure that you will fol ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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