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Is humour really funny?

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Introduction

Humour is something that is highly valued in today's contemporary world. It is something that we are constantly surrounded by, something that people use to fall back on when life gets too serious, something that unites people together if they can laugh at the same joke. However, humour can also cause offence and division if people oppose the particular ways of thinking being promoted in the text. Humour is probably the most powerful tool used by authors today to criticise, challenge or emphasise particular ideas or issues that are dominant in society. All humorous texts invite a certain response from its audience; however people can choose to read with the text and laugh at what is being ridiculed, or read against the text and condemn its ideas. ...read more.

Middle

Whereas someone who is does not regard elderly very highly, say someone who is a generation away, teenager perhaps, might share the share views of the cartoonist and find the portrayal of the elderly highly amusing. Because I come from an Asian culture and it is a cultural belief that our elders are superior to us, I do not find this cartoon funny; on the contrary, I in fact find it rather rude, because my values oppose those being reflected in the text. It can therefore be said that authors make certain assumptions about the audience while constructing a humorous text as certain cultural assumptions are needed to evoke humour, as different values are evident in different cultures. The second stimulus from freakingnews.com, is highly dependant on the viewer having cultural knowledge of Steve Irwin, an Australian icon notorious for his carefree attitude towards 'man eating' creatures. ...read more.

Conclusion

On the other hand, someone who dislikes Steve Irwin might find this picture funny as they agree with the values being endorsed in the text - Steve Irwin is an idiot. We are positioned to laugh at something that is inevitable to everyone - getting old. We as Australians are positioned to laugh at Australian icons 'feeding' their children to vicious animals. Could it be that because we feel inclined to laugh at something 'humorous' without thinking about the more complex ideas and critique underpinned, we fail to see an issue for what it really is? Could it be that because we do not take anything seriously anymore, humour has turned us callous and ignorant, finding even the most morbid of situations humorous rather than see them for what they are - morbid? When you really think about it, does this deserve a laugh? Is humour really funny? I certainly don't think so. ...read more.

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