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The Real Effects of Humor

As we all know, satire is an extremely power tool of communication, capable of exposing fraud and reaching the masses. People such as Voltaire and Jonathan Swift have written infamous satirical essays that are still read today. What modern equivalents do we have of these superstars? In what instances has humor clearly pushed an agenda? One may think of John Stewart and his work with 9/11 first responders.

  • Whenever I think of Voltaire, I think of a purported incident in which he submitted a bill to legislature joking that people should have to shut their blinds during the day so candle and lamp makers wouldn't have to fight the sun for competition, which was great commentary against industrial greed.More generally, though, this is a good topic to discuss. My first go-to celebrities would be Tina Fey and Amy Pohler. Their interviews and actual discussions tend to be more direct than their shows, but both 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation had distinct socio-political overtones. Fey's character Liz Lemon was an outspoken feminist and eco-critic, while Pohley's Leslie Knope highlighted the issues with contemporary government that tends to slow down or stonewall progressive change.One important aspect to consider here is that in days past, these major writers were among the only artists (as in, people involved in any art, writing, plays, music, etc) to really pay attention to, whereas now we have far more celebrities than any one person can pay attention to. Moreover, art, especially literature, was reserved for the upper class, as they were the only people both literate and able to afford to read, since mass publication didn't exist, but today, anyone can access any range of art and media for little to no money. In discussing the impact of modern equivalents, we should also keep in mind the amount of people talking and who, in fact, is listening. – Kevin 5 years ago
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  • I think the real effects of humor are that it helps the war on so much disinformation. Satire promotes the ability to think critically in a palatable form.Munjeera – Munjeera 5 years ago
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  • Great topic. I remember reading an article that said irony was dead after September 11. Thankfully that is incorrect. – Tigey 4 years ago
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