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By Giselinde Kuipers

This booklet is the 1st broad sociological research of the connection among humor and social history. utilizing a mix of interview fabrics, survey facts, and old fabrics, it explores the connection among humor and gender, age, social classification, and nationwide changes within the Netherlands and the us. The exploration of social changes in humorousness starts from one particular, and never very prestigious, funny style: the shaggy dog story. solid Humor, undesirable style explains why jokes are reliable humor to a couple, undesirable style to others

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Extra resources for Good humor, bad taste : a sociology of the joke

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Only in the twentieth century does the joke seem to have sunk definitively: in the interim the joke has reached such a low status that the higher classes hardly ever tell jokes. The following chapters will provide thorough evidence for this assertion (at least in the Netherlands). I will attempt here to trace this process of sinking. As far as one can determine, "jests" were told and performed everywhere around 1600: they were popular with the elite but also circulated among the common folk (Roodenburg 1997: 114).

Spontaneous. " Like all the joke tellers I spoke to, Hans Wagenaar loved joke as a genre, and joke telling as something he does with other people. For this reason, he found it difficult to say which jokes were best: "I don't really have a huge preference. I like them if they're well told and reasonably upto-date. You can't really say I've got favorites, like: I crack up at a Belgian joke or jokes about Turks or Surinamese or any other, racist jokes or whatever, that doesn't make any difference to me.

One must demonstrate one's own scintillating spirit through inventive witticisms and refined plays on words. The criterion of authenticity is directly connected with the intellectualizing already mentioned. While the ascent of the punch line fits this development well - the punch line, after all, emphasizes cognitive humor - the joke on other fronts falls far short if intellectuality is desired. The criterion of intellectual refinement thus disadvantaged the joke. The increasing emphasis on wittiness, nimble-mindedness and the art of conversing also demanded civilized humor.

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