Cracking Up: American Humor in a Time of Conflict
by Paul Lewis
What do Jon Stewart, Freddy Krueger, Patch Adams, and George W. Bush have in common? As Paul Lewis shows in Cracking Up, they are all among the ranks of joke tellers who aim to do much more than simply amuse. Exploring topics that range from the sadistic mockery of Abu Ghraib prison guards to New Age platitudes about the healing power of laughter, from jokes used to ridicu...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 2nd 2006 by University Of Chicago Press
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Paul Lewis has written a scholarly study of humor and its use by setting up a dichotomy of killing joke vs. healing laughter. The former being the use of individuals or groups as the butt of the joke, (often in the form of name-calling) the latter essentially gags to get laughter. The author notes campaign humor has a tendency to promote group thinking and relax logical thought making its contribution to democratic process mixed at best, unfortunate at worst. He advises that since marginal influ...more