Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Humor Taken Seriously

Reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid after going through middle school was an interesting experience as I found the humor model to be very complex. At times I found myself on the same level as Greg and his peers, understanding the awkwardness of middle school and the yearning to make friends. However, as much as I remember those times, there was also a part of me that wanted to yell down to Greg and tell him that these years really don’t matter, that everyone hates middle school and you’ll laugh about it when you’re older. However, then I remember again, I’m sure I was told that as well and it really doesn’t seem to help the situation. I also thought there was a bit of mature adult humor in the novel that some kids may not have picked up on. I think this displays that Kinney is writing about this with the knowledge of an adult. An example of this is seen when Greg’s grandmother’s house is toilet papered. Not understanding the severity of this Greg writes “But on the bright side, Gramma is retired, so she probably didn’t have anything planned for today anyway” (76). That instantly reminded me of Amy Sedaris’ piece on old people, but coming from the innocence of a child it’s funny because it’s offensive, and he doesn’t know it.

The complexity of this one book is a perfect example of the complexity of humor in general. What I have really taken away from this class is that laughter is not solely a happy emotion. That humor, ironically, should be taken more seriously. Jokes aren’t only made to make others laugh. While doing so a person can be revealing an insecurity, putting someone down, or dealing with a personal struggle. Even a sense of humor cannot be pinned down as laughter and jokes can be situational as seen in moments of awkwardness, or other times when release is needed. By observing someone while they are laughing (and noticing when/what they are laughing at) we get the chance to see that person in a vulnerable setting and therefore should use this emotion to make revelations and connections.

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