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Utilitarianism of Humour

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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30 December 2018 07:20
 
LadyJane - 30 December 2018 06:20 AM
Nhoj Morley - 10 January 2017 12:28 AM

I’m on my third attempt to write something worthy of this thread.

Take your time.

Haha ... it’s been a year and still waiting, eh?


In regards to the OP and others, one of the reasons I was drawn to this forum was the humour.  Life without humour would be tiresome and boring.  As pointed out, we all have different ideas of what’s funny, but it’s okay if all don’t get a joke or find it funny.  As long as it’s not at another’s expense.  That’s why practical jokes aren’t funny.  But then again, humour and a little sarcasm can be used in rebuttal to put someone gently ‘in their place’, assuming they get it.  However, what would elicit at least a giggle in real life can fall flat or might annoy or offend here at the forum – it’s tricky.

I’m with you, LJ – “Anything that makes us laugh is a win.”  So I say, let’s not take ourselves too seriously and look for and appreciate well-intended humour whenever and wherever we find it.

 

 
 
Skipshot
 
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Skipshot
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30 December 2018 08:45
 
Jan_CAN - 30 December 2018 07:20 AM
LadyJane - 30 December 2018 06:20 AM
Nhoj Morley - 10 January 2017 12:28 AM

I’m on my third attempt to write something worthy of this thread.

Take your time.

Haha ... it’s been a year and still waiting, eh?

Nearly two years. 

Good one, LJ.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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30 December 2018 08:52
 

When I google “mount baker” (a beautiful mountain here in Washington state), I’m told the mountain has 84 reviews, with an overall rating of 4.6. Sometimes Mount Baker gets 1 or 2 or 3 star reviews. One friend quipped:

“We’re sorry the mountain did not meet your needs today”.

Another said: “The mountain should try harder”.

One of the reviewers said: “5/5 would volcano again”

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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30 December 2018 14:46
 
LadyJane - 29 December 2016 07:03 AM

After careful consideration of recent posting, I am reminded that this forum serves as a source of entertainment for many patrons.  As a result, I now wonder whether it registers with people that the fun they’re having may be at the expense of others.  For example, if trolling is your thing and you came to learn it made fifteen other patrons miserable would you still be inclined to do it?  Taking it a step farther, if you knew it discouraged fifteen pairs of eyeballs, belonging to remarkably intelligent humans, looking in with the intention of joining would you do it just the same?  Keep in mind how many actual eyeballs scan these pages.


Do the laughs of the many outweigh the laughs of the few?

It’s a good question. I do think humor has both helpful and harmful qualities. Also, a lot humor is intrinsically at someone else’s expense. I suppose the question goes to total utility.

In general, I think that mean spirited humor is a good thing. Good because a lot of good comedy is mean spirited and good because the distress that people feel when being roasted is actually good as well. Not that it FEELS good. It probably doesn’t. But its good to puncture piety. It’s good to view the world in ironic terms. It’s good to challenge taboos. It’s good to test the social conventions of language. All generalities to be sure but I’m very sure that I don’t want to live in a culture where jokes are prohibited.

In any specific, personal circumstance there may a joke that goes too far or is poorly timed or should have been framed differently. No doubt. On the larger view we need more jokes. More roasts. More impiety. More satire. These things, in my opinion contribute directly to our cognitive and practical liberty, our capacity for abstract thought and our willingness and ability to solve problems with conversation.

Keep em coming. Make fun of me if you need to. I’ll take one for the team.

 
Giulio
 
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Giulio
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31 December 2018 00:44
 
LadyJane - 30 December 2018 06:20 AM
Nhoj Morley - 10 January 2017 12:28 AM

I’m on my third attempt to write something worthy of this thread.

Take your time.

If I was Max von Sydow acting in a film depiction of Steppenwolf, I’d laugh like the gods.

Instead, I will just reference this link.

 

 
LadyJane
 
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01 January 2019 06:37
 
Giulio - 31 December 2018 12:44 AM

If I was Max von Sydow acting in a film depiction of Steppenwolf, I’d laugh like the gods.

Instead, I will just reference this link.

Intriguing essay, sir.  I always figured we didn’t get to choose what we find funny.  In a different way.  The giggling usually tips us off.  That’s why I can’t understand all the scolding taking place over what people find funny.  Human hilarity covers the gamut and that leaves a little something for everyone.  Can an involuntary response really be considered a moral failing?

 
 
LadyJane
 
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01 January 2019 06:43
 
Brick Bungalow - 30 December 2018 02:46 PM

Keep em coming. Make fun of me if you need to. I’ll take one for the team.

You’re a good sport.  And not easy to roast.  Maybe I’ll take you up on that someday. 

Once I figure out why you got a tramp stamp of Jason Momoa.

 
 
LadyJane
 
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01 January 2019 06:56
 
Jan_CAN - 30 December 2018 07:20 AM

That’s why practical jokes aren’t funny.

It depends…

Visit a mall and find a comfortable bench in a high traffic zone.  Then superglue a toonie to the floor and enjoy the entertainment.  Simple.  And money well spent.

(Or, if yer a cheap bastard, bring a chisel along and save the two bucks.) 

Imagine a group of twenty somethings spending the weekend at a cottage.  They wake up Sunday morning after two nights of hard partying, bleary eyed and cotton mouthed, as one stumbles into the bathroom.  As they reach for the toothpaste they fail to notice their host has replaced their ordinary toothpaste with the dog’s chicken flavoured toothpaste.  The beauty thing here is there’s nothing the first prankee wants more than to prank the next guy and the more who want in on the joke the longer the prank lasts.  Hours of fun!

(You do it on the Sunday coz they’re leaving that day and don’t have time to retaliate.)

Imagine the same group of youngsters.  Imagine copying the letterhead of a popular daytime talk show and mailing letters inviting them to participate in a show connecting people with their secret admirers.  Time it just so that they receive the letters right before you show up at their place for the weekend and can watch them freak out like twelve year old girls guessing who it is that likes them.  There’s nothing quite like sending your own entertainment ahead of time.  Then it’s dinner and a show.

I’d say more…but I think I’d prefer to check the statute of limitations on a few things first.

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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01 January 2019 07:41
 
LadyJane - 01 January 2019 06:56 AM
Jan_CAN - 30 December 2018 07:20 AM

That’s why practical jokes aren’t funny.

It depends…

Visit a mall and find a comfortable bench in a high traffic zone.  Then superglue a toonie to the floor and enjoy the entertainment.  Simple.  And money well spent.

(Or, if yer a cheap bastard, bring a chisel along and save the two bucks.) 

Imagine a group of twenty somethings spending the weekend at a cottage.  They wake up Sunday morning after two nights of hard partying, bleary eyed and cotton mouthed, as one stumbles into the bathroom.  As they reach for the toothpaste they fail to notice their host has replaced their ordinary toothpaste with the dog’s chicken flavoured toothpaste.  The beauty thing here is there’s nothing the first prankee wants more than to prank the next guy and the more who want in on the joke the longer the prank lasts.  Hours of fun!

(You do it on the Sunday coz they’re leaving that day and don’t have time to retaliate.)

Imagine the same group of youngsters.  Imagine copying the letterhead of a popular daytime talk show and mailing letters inviting them to participate in a show connecting people with their secret admirers.  Time it just so that they receive the letters right before you show up at their place for the weekend and can watch them freak out like twelve year old girls guessing who it is that likes them.  There’s nothing quite like sending your own entertainment ahead of time.  Then it’s dinner and a show.

I’d say more…but I think I’d prefer to check the statute of limitations on a few things first.

Haha, LJ ... you got me.  I take it back – practical jokes can be funny.  As you say, it depends.  (I was initially thinking of those that humiliate or upset the ‘victim’ rather than just cause mild embarrassment or highlight some foibles.)

Well, it sounds like you’ve had some fun.  And it looks like a visit from you or an invite to your cottage might require one to be on their guard ... and ready for some laughs.  (I wonder though what Fidel thought of you using up all his toothpaste.)

 

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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01 January 2019 10:55
 

If your humorous barb has a target individual, it would probably serve to know whether the person has a sense of humor and doesn’t mind a bit of ribbing.  Otherwise, the laughs of the many may not outweigh the pain of the one. If many laugh and one is humiliated, that’s cruelty. On the other hand, if the target is just a bad sport, the laughs of the many might be justified.  Depends.

The laughs of 1000 citizens at something stupid said by Trump are worth it, no matter what Trump feels. The laughs of 1000 KKK members at the humiliation of a black person are not worth it.  Depends.

[ Edited: 01 January 2019 10:57 by EN]
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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01 January 2019 11:00
 
EN - 01 January 2019 10:55 AM

If your humorous barb has a target individual, it would probably serve to know whether the person has a sense of humor and doesn’t mind a bit of ribbing.  Otherwise, the laughs of the many may not outweigh the pain of the one. If many laugh and one is humiliated, that’s cruelty. On the other hand, if the target is just a bad sport, the laughs of the many might be justified.  Depends.

The laughs of 1000 citizens at something stupid said by Trump are worth it, no matter what Trump feels. The laughs of 1000 KKK members at the humiliation of a black person are not worth it.  Depends.

Agreed. And notice it’s another form of saying that it’s fine to criticize ideas.

 
 
Gone
 
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Gone
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05 January 2019 21:52
 

This is a difficult time for humour. Political correctness taken to irrational extremes can strangle the fun out of anything. I’m reminded of a performance by Joan Rivers I attended where she made a joke about someone’s disability triggering an angry heckler. She responded by informing the heckler of her late husbands disabilities concluding with a remark something like ‘Get a life, if we don’t laugh at the big problems we face we’ll all go insane’ On the other hand some comedians want simply to annoy and offend just to get a reaction but in a place like this I suspect we can’t get away with as much as comedians can on stage . Fair enough, the audience usually knows the performer will be treading on thin ice. I was once thrown off a forum for quoting a poem by George Bernard Shaw(?) which I’ve used here without being slapped on the wrist - encouraging. The offending rhyme ?
“How odd of God,
To choose the Jews”
To me, maybe because of my Jewish background that’s funny. To others apparently it’s highly offensive on more than just theological grounds.
As to ICEHORSE’s ’It’s fine to criticise ideas’ these days it’s just that which will get us in trouble. Consider, for instance, panel discussions where religion rears it’s ugly head. You’ll hardly ever hear anyone of late quote chapter and verse getting stuck into the content of so called holy books. Why? But hey, this could lead to a very humourless discussion so I’ll leave it alone for now.

[ Edited: 05 January 2019 21:55 by Gone]
 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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06 January 2019 08:31
 
Dissily Mordentroge - 05 January 2019 09:52 PM

This is a difficult time for humour. Political correctness taken to irrational extremes can strangle the fun out of anything. I’m reminded of a performance by Joan Rivers I attended where she made a joke about someone’s disability triggering an angry heckler. She responded by informing the heckler of her late husbands disabilities concluding with a remark something like ‘Get a life, if we don’t laugh at the big problems we face we’ll all go insane’ On the other hand some comedians want simply to annoy and offend just to get a reaction but in a place like this I suspect we can’t get away with as much as comedians can on stage . Fair enough, the audience usually knows the performer will be treading on thin ice. I was once thrown off a forum for quoting a poem by George Bernard Shaw(?) which I’ve used here without being slapped on the wrist - encouraging. The offending rhyme ?
“How odd of God,
To choose the Jews”
To me, maybe because of my Jewish background that’s funny. To others apparently it’s highly offensive on more than just theological grounds.
As to ICEHORSE’s ’It’s fine to criticise ideas’ these days it’s just that which will get us in trouble. Consider, for instance, panel discussions where religion rears it’s ugly head. You’ll hardly ever hear anyone of late quote chapter and verse getting stuck into the content of so called holy books. Why? But hey, this could lead to a very humourless discussion so I’ll leave it alone for now.

Not quite sure I understand the part I bolded, can you expand on that a bit?

 
 
Gone
 
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Gone
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06 January 2019 20:07
 
icehorse - 06 January 2019 08:31 AM

As to ICEHORSE’s ’It’s fine to criticise ideas’ these days it’s just that which will get us in trouble.[/bold] Consider, for instance, panel discussions where religion rears it’s ugly head. You’ll hardly ever hear anyone of late quote chapter and verse getting stuck into the content of so called holy books. Why?
Not quite sure I understand the part I bolded, can you expand on that a bit?

Understandable. Late at night ( that’s my excuse) I made bold a bigger chunk of text than I intended ,
I was attempting to draw attention to a pet irritation of mine, the idea of ‘sacred’ text being off limits. I can’t see why when discussing, say, Islamic or Christian fundamentalism chapter and verse quotes are to be avoided. Koran Sura 3 :V 7-10 comes to mind.
    ”Oh Lord! For the day of whose coming there is not doubt, thou wilt surely gather mankind together. Verily, God will not fail the promise.
          As for the infidels, their wealth, and their children, shall avail them nothing against God. They shall be fuel for the fire.
          After the worst of the people of Pharaoh, and of those who went before them, they treated our signs as falsehoods. Therefore God laid hold of them in their sins; and God is severe in punishing.
          Say to the infidels: ye shall be worsted, and to Hell shall ye be gathered together; and wretched the couch! ”

    I can only recall one instance during the last several years of such a passage being critically examined during a panel discussion.

My apologies for wandering away from utilitarian humour.

Oz humour?

[ Edited: 07 January 2019 03:08 by Gone]
 
 
icehorse
 
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07 January 2019 07:42
 

Such critical examination is more than welcome here smile

 
 
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