Wednesday, January 27, 2010

During Christmas break, my family and I traveled down to Virginia to visit with my grandmother for a few days. Evenings there usually follow a fixed routine - after dinner, worn out from the day's activities, my grandma will usually sit in her favorite chair and do crossword puzzles (she's a crossword puzzle machine) while watching Wheel of Fortune. The rest of the family will usually come and watch as well, occupying the various chairs situated in the living room. One night though, only my brother, mom and I were gathered in front of the tv; my younger brother remained in one of the bedrooms seemingly absorbed in his computer screen. For a while there was quiet but, all of a sudden, a muffled guffaw burst from his room. All of us in the living room glanced at each other and laughed but continued to watch tv. A few minutes of silence passed when another bout of laughter issued from down the hall, followed by silence. This continued for some time until, my curiosity substantially piqued, I ventured into his room to seek the cause of his merriment. He was still hunched over his screen, so, in blatant violation of the no-sisters-allowed-in-the-room rule, I walked over to him and peered at his screen. At first, I was confused - it was a nondescript - looking page with what appeared to be a list of personal quotes continuing all the way to the bottom. When I started to read, however, I realized I had found the culprit. My brother had noticed me reading by that time and proceeded to tell me about the site. It is called mylifeisaverage, or mlia for short. It's basically a site where people can report on random things that happen to them during the day. The posts can be normal, everyday occurrences (mostly in the beginning pages of the site) or can be random, sometimes extremely funny things that happen to the contributors during the day. They also come from a wide variety of cultures, as well as age groups - from grade-schoolers, to working older adults, and is completely anonymous.
While reading the the definitions of humor by Freud, Spencer, and Descartes, I realized that some of the posts contain some aspects of their definitions. There are posts that describe awkward situations diffused by a comical occurrence that leaves all involved dissolved in laughter. There are also a substantial amount of "that's what she said jokes", which hearken to Freud's theory of humor as an outlet for suppressed feelings and emotions. There are also a lot about finding the humor in the inumerable amount of hardships that occur during the course of one's life.
I guess that if Descartes, Spencer, and most definitely, Freud, ever had the chance to read the humorous stories posted by everyday people on mlia, each could find some support for their theories concerning humor. Out of everything, mlia is a good example of the universality of humor, how it can connect people across cultures and geographic boundaries, and of how important it is in everyday life.

No comments:

Post a Comment