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Death Humor of James Thorson and Allen Klein - Essay Example

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This paper aims to critically analyze the arguments of James A. Thorson and Allen Klein which revolves around Death Humor. It will consider both sides of the topic at hand and will also include my opinions and views regarding the topic. I agree with the arguments of James A…
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Death Humor of James Thorson and Allen Klein
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Download file to see previous pages Thorson. It was published in the Journal of Popular American Culture. Vol. 16:2. It revolves around gallows humor and covers different aspects of the topic. It covers the history and various other types of gallows humor.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, Gallows Humor is grim and ironic humor in a desperate or hopeless situation. (The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English, 2008) It refers to humor that is directed towards something or some event that is frightening in real life. Getting electrocuted at a yogurt dispensing machine at National Institute of Health makes us realize how unpredictable this life is. It makes us realize that it can end any time without us knowing it which makes it very frightening. Still we smile at the unexpected pattern of circumstances. I agree with James A. Thorson when he says that there is a cognitive shift in the way we perceive this event. I agree with James A. Thorson when he says that smiling at frightening and unfortunate events, like when a man gets electrocuted while dispensing yogurt at a National Institute of Health cannot be put under the heading of 'gallows humor'. Gallows humor is something that is intentionally created in order to help people cope with death and its anxieties. This event that I described above was not intentional. It is just a combination of a lot of unexpected events being put together. On the other hand gallows humor is there for a reason. It has motive of helping people cope with death better. What supports gallows humor and makes it so acceptable The fact that no one can escape death creates a lot of anxiety but gallows humor allows us to accept it which, as a result, decreases the anxiety that everyone in this world goes through.
Jokes regarding war and combat also help us ignore the ugly reality of war itself. We just concentrate on the humorous aspect of it and ignore war as a bloody, loud and violent event. In war jokes, the real situation is ignored and put aside. In my opinion, Sigmund Freud was right when he stated that we make fun of death as a defense mechanism. Even though this results in pushing us away from what is real and distorting reality, but at least it allows us to live happily whatever time we have.
However, when one laughs at someone else's death makes it unethical, prejudice and inhumane. Terms used by medical officers like Trainwreck and Gork for their patients are clearly just a result of these medical officers being sick of their jobs. Making fun of others death just makes us feel better because it reassures us that we are not like them. We start to consider them as outsiders, a term which refers to people who are not a part your group. We make fun of the outsiders and this makes us prejudice towards them.
Also those people who are oppressed by others use humor as a weapon against political repression. This point was put forward by Antonin Obrdlik, a sociologist who studied the Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Humor helped them feel better about them selves and these people used it against their enemies. Similarly, gallows humor is used by people to help them feel better about themselves and not so insignificant. It helps with deal with death and all other harsh realities emotionally. It is like psychological reassurance and could also be considered as passive-aggression. We have a natural tendency to make fun of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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