Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Humorless.

I'm having a hard time getting over the whole Eliot Spitzer thing. I heard a discussion of it on On Point as I was driving into work, and it pretty much sums up why for me.

There are things that are just no longer funny to me, and this is one of them. I remember reading a piece in The New Yorker a few years ago about a venerable (though amateur, actually) scholar of the dirty joke, Gershon Legman, who wrote a vast tome called The Rationale of the Dirty Joke. Legman died in 1999. (You can read the article here--I recommend it, very interesting and instructive.)

The author of the New Yorker article, Jim Holt, notes that
Reading through Legman’s vast compilation of dirty jokes is a punishing experience, like being trapped in the men’s room of a Greyhound bus station of the nineteen-fifties. And the jokes in “Rationale of the Dirty Joke” are what Legman deemed the “clean” dirty jokes, arranged by such relatively innocent themes as “the nervous bride,” “phallic brag,” and “water wit.” In 1975 he published a second fat volume, “No Laughing Matter,” which contained the “dirty” dirty jokes—nearly a thousand pages of jokes about anal sadism, venereal disease, and worse. Legman’s avowed purpose was not to amuse the reader or furnish him with material for the locker room; he saw his work as a serious psychoanalytic study, one that would disclose the “infinite aggressions” behind jokes, mainly of men against women.

Sick of hearing jokes on this topic, sick of the common imagining of the sexual exploitation of women and children of both genders as a laughing matter. Sick of powerful men like E.S. doing stuff like this. Sickening.

4 comments:

Dr. Write said...

Well, some things just aren't funny. I remember getting pissed off at SNL during the Anita Hill/Thomas trial. Not funny. You know there will be a Spitzer skit this weekend. You know it!
Why does life have to be so stereotypical? Why?
Also, how long until his wife divorces him? Please!!

ann cannon said...

Couldn't agree more. Read the New Yorker piece, then clicked onto the New Yorker piece about the Gossip Girls books. And now I have two things to rant about today.

Amelia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amelia said...

I concur, time for the tasteless jokes to stop and the outrage to begin!

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