[ExI] humor and wit

PJ Manney pjmanney at gmail.com
Mon May 18 00:41:28 UTC 2009

On Sun, May 17, 2009 at 4:40 PM, Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:
> And wit is amazingly culture-specific.

Indeed.  Comedy is subjective.  Tragedy tends to be more objective.
Please don't bother getting into a debate on "what is
objective/subjective?" on this.  Moving along...

> think it offers an interesting glimpse into a witty haiku-like-thingee that
> can't easily be conveyed to any of us except maybe Jef

That's if the haiku is Japanese.

>From David Bader's Haikus for Jews (bringing things full circle is
always fulfilling...)

Is one Nobel Prize
so much to ask from a child
after all I've done?

or this one:

Beyond Valium,
the peace of knowing one's child
is an internist.

and this:

Five thousand years a
wandering people--then we
found the cabanas.

Not surprisingly, I find them hilarious (and painfully true, which is
why they're hilarious).  The rest of you, most likely not.  However,
Bill K is also correct.  The history of 20th C. American humor,
especially in entertainment, has been mostly shaped by Jewish humor.
(Read something like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_humor if you
are intent on knowing why.)

Also, regarding Isaac Asimov: most American Jews in the 20th c. have
very consciously denied their Jewishness had anything to do with their
achievements and regardless of religiosity, downplay their cultural
heritage.  This is the norm in the community, due to assimilation,
prejudice and secularization.  But I wager Isaac would have laughed
from the "Nobel" haiku along with the rest of us closet cases...  :)

Of course, how any of this is extropic is beyond me.


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