• An existentialist account of the role of humor against oppression

    Author(s):
    Chris A. Kramer (see profile)
    Date:
    2013
    Group(s):
    Film-Philosophy, Philosophy, Political Philosophy & Theory, Public Philosophy Journal
    Subject(s):
    Applied ethics, Humor studies, Philosophy, Racism
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Existentialism, Stereotypes, Subversive Humor
    Permanent URL:
    https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:39325/
    Abstract:
    I argue that the overt subjugation in the system of American slavery and its subsequent effects offer a case study for an existentialist analysis of freedom, oppression and humor. Concentrating on the writings and experiences of Frederick Douglass and the existentialists Simone De Beauvoir and Lewis Gordon, I investigate how the concepts of “spirit of seriousness”, “mystification”, and an existentialist reading of “double consciousness” for example, can elucidate the forms of explicit and concealed oppression. I then make the case that subversive humor is an effective means to bring to consciousness the inconsistencies and incongruities of the serious oppressors. I also illustrate how humor can act as a bulwark against the rise and persistence of oppression by (non-violently) attacking the absolutist stance on human nature maintained through the use of dominating and “authoritative” language and action.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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