Tuesday, August 22, 2006

and again....

I had a few extra minutes, so I thought I should post. but now I have to say something.
I'd like to pose a challenge to my fellow bloggers; during a discussion with friends recently, the topic of comparative humor was bandied about, and it's been on my mind. (I didn't get to the challenge part yet. be patient.)we were discussing German humor vs American, vs British, vs Jewish; and I was wondering what exactly it is that makes Jewish humor what it is.
I heard Rav Asher Wade say that all Jewish humor is about either the Jew and his G-d or the Jew and...something else. the Jew and his environment maybe? that seems to make sense...Darn, this would be a lot more effective if I could remember how the entire phrase went. anyway, I think I disagreed with him, bc Jewish humor is more a style of humor than a running punchline. the style has been shaped by our experiences, history, and the effects of these on the Jewish condition,; bitiing, sarcastic,slightly paranoid and very often political, but it's not always the same.
also, bc I think he was mainly talking about Jewish jokes and then I found a few that didn't conform to the formula or something.
in the context of a cultural humor though....bc think about it. what is funny? that which catches us by surprise via contrast of what you expected to happen with what actually happened. which makes us happy bc it's a reflection of truth, which insight makes us more complete...but that's my own personal philosophy. for another time.
so then the difference in cultural humor would be bc different cultures have different expectations? different paradigms for what ought to happen and what ought not to happen, or what does and what doesn't usually?
thus my challenge to you: what is it that seperates Jewish humor from other types of humor, and what is it that marks the differences in the humor of various cultures?

(my challenges aren't usually met with much enthusiasm so as incentive, I offer to the winner...a cookie. but if you live in a different country, you have to buy it yourself.)


Blogger Tobie said...

I'm not entirely sure what is meant by Jewish humor- humor that involves Jewish topics? Humor told by Jews? But if it exists as a category, I think that it is typified by a certain darkness, a certain intelligence, and a certain degree of self-mocking. it's the humor of a people that's always on the worse end of the deal and has sort of gotten to expect it.

And I'm in the right country, so you have to buy me a cookie!

6:48 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

fine i'll buy you a cookie. next time say somehting slightly different from what I said in the original post.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Tobie said...

you have incredibly high expectations. Especially from someone with whom you come to most of your theories to begin with.

Alright- something different- there's absolutely no such thing as Jewish humor. It's just made up by people who like to think that they're somehow clever and special.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

that was pathetic. you're not even trying here.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Tobie said...

I am not! I don't believe in Jewish humor as a seperate category. There is, maybe, a bunch of stupid jokes playing off of Jewish stereotypes, but that's no more Jewish humor than jokes about Brits are British humor. The Jews that I have met have a wide range of senses of jumor and I don't really understand what this category "jewish humor" would be.

5:01 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

k but you're wrong, see. ever watch the Simpsons? (in its early years.) or Seinfeld? or Eretz Nehederet? it's a certain flavor of humor, even if the topics have nothing to do with Judaism. we've already discussed the cynicsm to death, but beyond more words to efects we have already described, there's a very definite intangible something which makes Jewish humor decidedly Jewish; but I'm at a loss for more words, which is why I brought the question to the blogosphere to begin with. which was apparently a very successful idea.

5:07 AM  

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