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HUMOUR-RESEARCH  December 2008

HUMOUR-RESEARCH December 2008

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Subject:

Re: Re; Humor and not humor

From:

Jim Lyttle <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Humour-Research <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 1 Dec 2008 09:49:25 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (151 lines)

Show me one classic piece of art, and I'll show you someone who does  
not like it. So what? This does not mean that we do not have a  
well-established field of study called aesthetics, or that it is  
impossible to define art, or that no one knows what should be put in a  
museum versus what should be taken to a hospital.

We could say the same about hundreds of things, but we do not throw up  
our hands and leave the dictionary entry blank.

It is hard to define  exactly what is meant by "humorous." That is  
what makes it interesting. There are more than 350 members of the  
ISHS, most of whom are university professors. Do we give up that easily?

Quoting "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>:

> Jim,
>
> Show me one humorous situation per se and I'll show you a subject  
> that does not find it humorous.
>
> Faisal
>
>
> Jim Lyttle, Ph..D. wrote:
>> Tickling does not count as humor.
>>
>> A "humourous situation per se" is precisely what we aim to define.
>>
>> Although the quest is difficult, we all have a sense of what you  
>> meant when you referred to a "humorous situation per se" and that  
>> is precisely what we are here to define: not fun, not laughter, not  
>> thrills, not joy, not dendrite firings ...
>>
>> Quoting "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>:
>>
>>> Humor Researchers,
>>>
>>> If  tickling counts as humor so does a roller coaster ride because  
>>> both have the same kind of threat falsification, but there is no  
>>> humorous situation /per se/, there must be a subjective element  
>>> and there is one in both situations. If you tickle  a toddler you  
>>> will probably get a laugh, you tickle an adult then you may get a  
>>> slap. Similarly, a kid in a roller coaster sees humor in the  
>>> situation, a retired fighter pilot will probably see it as a  
>>> mundane exercise. In both situations the younger person felt  
>>> credible threat but the older person only saw a nuisance.
>>> I am with you Jim, the test of a theory of humor must be  
>>> discriminant, but if you are expecting to reject a non-humorous  
>>> situation without a subjective element then you are expecting too  
>>> much.
>>>
>>> Faisal Kadri
>>>
>>>
>>> Jim Lyttle, Ph..D. wrote:
>>>> If every disturbance that cannot be handled with a routine  
>>>> adjustment is defined as humorous, then every surprise will count  
>>>> as humor. Maybe this is why you think a roller coaster ride is  
>>>> humorous (it is not ... it can be fun, but it is not funny). Is  
>>>> being surprised by a mugger humorous?
>>>>
>>>> The test of your theory is not whether it has convergent validity  
>>>> (can be stretched to fit various examples). If that were true,  
>>>> then Charles Gruner would already have the No-Bull Prize for  
>>>> having defined humor.
>>>>
>>>> The test of your theory is whether is has discriminant validity.  
>>>> You must show many examples of how it can reject non-humorous  
>>>> situations-in-which-the-normal-adjustments-are-blocked.
>>>>
>>>> Jim Lyttle.
>>>>
>>>> Quoting "Roy E. Russell" <[log in to unmask]>:
>>>>
>>>>> Humor Researchers,
>>>>>    Thanks Faisal for your response.  I should explain why I  
>>>>> think this self regulating process, disturbance and adjustment,  
>>>>> is so essential to the understanding of humor.  When I first  
>>>>> read the various explanations of humor/laughter years ago, I  
>>>>> noticed that each seemed to explain some type or aspect of  
>>>>> humor, but none could span the entire spectrum of humor.
>>>>>    Humor is experienced by all cultures, ancient and modern, and  
>>>>> by all ages, from infants to the elderly.  It should be obvious  
>>>>> that if we are to find a common denominator among such a diverse  
>>>>> group of individuals, we need to look for a very fundamental  
>>>>> characteristic or process.  Constant adjustment to their ever  
>>>>> changing conditions is something these individuals have in common.
>>>>>    It is important to remember that only one disturbance and  
>>>>> those elements related to its adjustment are included in a set,  
>>>>> expressed as (d-a).  Unrelated disturbances are adjusted in a  
>>>>> separate time frame.  In an 11-14-08 post I analyzed two  
>>>>> humorous situations showing how the normal adjustments are  
>>>>> blocked when an ambiguous situation links two contradictory  
>>>>> ideas.  This blockage or impasse is by passed by the substitute  
>>>>> response, laughter.  The various adjustments provide the  
>>>>> pleasant aspect of humor.
>>>>>    Here are two other examples of humor which I have fitted into  
>>>>> this structure:
>>>>> The humor of an amusement park ride is similar to tickling in  
>>>>> that the falling sensation, like the tickling sensation, is  
>>>>> interpreted at two different levels.  Rationally the falling  
>>>>> sensation is regarded as harmless, but at the reflexive level it  
>>>>> is felt as dangerous.
>>>>> Set #1    d1  falling sensation
>>>>>              a1  relax, these rides are safe.
>>>>> Set #2    d2  Falling sensation
>>>>>              a2  Grab something, Scream for help.
>>>>> Set #3    d3   Safe--Dangerous    (impasse)
>>>>>              a3    Laughter
>>>>>
>>>>>    The ambiguity of the following joke is due to two different  
>>>>> interpretations of a simple gesture.
>>>>>    A man leaves his dog in the car and is walking away, but the  
>>>>> dog wants to follow him.  A blond drives up just as the man  
>>>>> turns and gesture toward the car saying, "stay''.  The blond  
>>>>> says to the man, "Why don't you just put it in park?''
>>>>> One can imagine that the poor girl had let a car or two get away  
>>>>> from her before she switched from verbal commands to putting it  
>>>>> in park.
>>>>>
>>>>> Set#1    d1   Dog wants to follow owner
>>>>>             a1   Owner tells dog to "stay''.
>>>>> Set#2    d2   Blond-- Why don't you just put it in park?''
>>>>>             a2   Ah yes,  She thinks the man is telling the car  
>>>>> to "stay''.
>>>>> Set#3    d3   Tell a dog to stay-----Tell a car to stay  (impasse).
>>>>>             a3   Laughter
>>>>>
>>>>>    I welcome your comments and alternate explanations of what  
>>>>> separates humor from not humor.
>>>>>
>>>>> Roy
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>
>



------------------
JIM LYTTLE, Ph.D.
139 E HIGH ST APT 9
POTTSTOWN, PA 19464
BB: (610) 850-5050
.
.
.
.
.

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