Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Humor in Real Life and Boys v.s. Girls

I did not really know what to expect when I first came into class this year. The class was called Critical Methodologies: Humor Studies. That seemed to be a paradox to me. What could be humorous about critical methodologies? But the book list seemed very promising to me. It wasn’t until later in the semester, however, that I realized just how much I would take away from this class. I found that it actually was not impossible for me to tell a funny story. I thought about humor in a way I never had before. And I had new books to recommend to my mother, father, and sister. The most surprising moment, however, occurred when I went to see the movie Kick-Ass over the weekend. It was a very funny movie, although it was very violent at the same time. I found myself thinking about why I was laughing at certain things and why I did not feel comfortable laughing at others. For example, there was a moment when a very minor character was being tortured by men who worked for the villain. The villain himself went out to his car to take his son to the movie theater, and the two of them began having a conversation in very amusing tones. I realized that I was uncomfortable laughing at their conversation, however, because of the context in which it was placed. I realized how I was thinking of the humor theorists and what their responses would be to a moment like this, and I was thinking of what we might say in class about this. I was really surprised to find how much the class has changed the way I perceive humor.
Meanwhile, I really enjoyed Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, and as I was reading it all I could think of was how much I wanted my sister to read it. This surprised me as well; I am coming away from the class with the intention of giving I Am A Stranger Here Myself to my father, Eat Pray Love to my mother, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid to my little sister. My sister is in sixth grade, right in the prime of middle school just like Greg. I know that she will be able to relate to the book because of the way she will tell me things about school. She always comes home with stories about how the boys in school act or some silly thing that the whole class is worried about. I think it might be interesting to see her reaction to the book, too. She is a girl, and the book is written from the perspective of a boy with a very stereotypical portrayal of the few girls who do show up. Kinney presented a middle school boy’s view of girls in a very effective and, I believe, true way. Although Greg says he likes girls, he gets very irritated with the few girls who do show up, such as the girl who played Dorothy in their school play. The interaction between boys and girls at that age sits on a very precarious line between liking and annoying. According to my sister’s stories about the boys in her class, I believe that Kinney gets this exactly. I can’t wait to see what my sister thinks.

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