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Unformatted text preview: , and that is why all races love to poke fun
at other races: certain characteristics of Jew, Irishman, Yankee, Scot, etc., are presented in novel and striking
fashion, in a playful manner.
It points out the weak and absurd side of people and institutions with which we have trouble; and this brings
in marriage, business, mothers-in-law, creditors, debtors, as those whose weakness is exposed by the
technique of humor.
Humor likes to explode pretension, pedantry, dignity, pomposity; we get a feeling of joy whenever those who
are superior come a cropper, which is increased when we feel that they have no right to their places. So the
humorous technique deals with the get-rich-quick folk, the foolish nobleman, the politician, the priest
(especially in the Middle Ages), etc.
Not only does humor seek to obtain pleasure from an attack on others and thus to feel superior or to
compensate for inferiority, but also it reaches its highest form in exposing man himself, including the
humorist. The humorist, seeking his own weaknesses and contradictions, his falsities, strips the disguise from
himself in some surprising way. Bergson points out that to strip away a disguise is naturely humorous unless it
reveals too rudely the horrible. The humorist takes off the mask from himself and others, and in so far as we
can detach ourselves from pride and vanity, we laugh. The one who cannot thus detach himself is "hurt" by
humor; the one who somehow has become a spectator of his own strivings can laugh at himself. Thus humor,
in addition to becoming a compensation and a form of entertainment, is a form of self-revelation and
self-understanding carried on by a peculiar technique. On the whole this technique depends upon a hiding of
the real meaning of the story or situation under a disguise of the commonplace. The humorist phrases his
words or develops his situation so as to send the thoughts of the listener flying in several directions. There is a
brief confusion, an incongruity is felt, then suddenly from under a disguise the point becomes clear and the
laugh is in part on...
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.
- Spring '11