Unit 1 Portfolio Refection
In the spring of 2017 I created a research blog on WordPress.com for a work portfolio. At the time of writing this unit 1 of my class is almost over and I’ve been asked to Synthesis everything I’ve done in unit 1. The main idea of unit 1 was to teach The Role of the Comedian in Society whose humor is used to confront problems that saturate society that other forums of discussion prefer to avoid. Thus, people are able to talk about these problems in a way that educates and is enjoyable, and so will reach a larger audience.
Public pedagogy through comedy is a reoccurring motif across all my posts so far.
In my McClennen essay I write about how sadistic comedy and satire affect people’s morals and how they think of other human beings. In my talking funny review, I write how Seinfeld edits his DVD he releases, because he believes that his work has such an impact on the people he doesn’t want to distract from the main idea. In How Ha-ha Can Lead to Aha! We see scientific evidence proving that humor can improve a student’s ability to recall a subject by 11%. According to the nces.ed.gov the population of the US in college students in the US was 20.5 million students. To put that into perspective 11% is 2,255,000 students. In 2016 the average salary of a bachelors worker right out of collage is $50,556.The average salary of a worker with no collage degree is $30,000.That’s $20,556 per person lost, meaning because teachers don’t throw in an occasional joke the US loses $46,353,780,000 in potential income every year.
Who could have thought that comedy in schools was no joke? But I digress from my main point that, the Role of the Comedian in Society is to make people question and think about problems in society. In my summery of Proud to Be an American Satirist I wrote about McClennen’s use of Henry Giroux’s theory of public pedagogy, which argues that most learning takes place outside the traditional classroom and that public culture is often the primary means through which society acquires knowledge and learns to model social interactions. When you think of how many high school students, college students, and young adults view this material and repeat its jokes without knowing the reference material. So, when we talk about 20.5 million students where 46 Billion dollars are on the line, public pedagogy has more influence in our country then people realize. It cost us 46 Billion just to not use humor, just imagine the damage of using it in a negative way. I also stated in my summery of McClennen’s work that humor used to devalue human suffering was indeed destructive to social improvement because it undermines the very ideas satire tries to change. Not only do people suffer but so do the resources and productivity that those people supply. Even if no one was offended by the joke, if no one thinks the joke was funny, then you have impeded everyone’s work flow and yielded no results or improvement. Also, How Ha-ha Can Lead to Aha! States that if a joke is not relevant or jokes are told too often they found that students don’t get that 11% improvement. So, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Amazing how the idea of what a comedian role in society has led to importance of public, statics potential economic loss, and the danger of negative comedy on the public.
Humor in Pedagogy: How Ha-ha Can Lead to Aha!
- humor can be an effective tool to make a class more enjoyable, reduce anxiety, and improve the learning setting
- positive effect on student enjoyment and content retention.
- The use of appropriate humor can facilitate a more relaxed atmosphere and provide a cognitive break that allows the student to assimilate the information
The Role of the Comedian in Society is to educate of problems through the use of humor. This has been shown to have a positive response if done correctly. According to this academic study a joke that is topic related can improve people’s ability to recall a subject by 11%. So just by saying something funny and related you can educate 11 out of 100 people statistically speaking. In-fact humor improves more than just test scores according to L. Garner (author of article) “Humor can be an effective tool to make a class more enjoyable, reduce anxiety, and improve the learning setting. “So, without using any resources just by occasionally saying something funny can reduce anxiety, improve learning, and make a positive effect on student enjoyment and content retention. They theorize that the use of appropriate humor can facilitate a more relaxed atmosphere and provide a cognitive break that allows the student to assimilate the information. When they performed the study, they used statistics course because of how dull the students considered the original material. So needless to say, we could be looking at even higher success rates in other topics.
In the future, Role of the Comedian will most likely be the same. However instead talking about a social problem in satirical ways, we may find that the line between the education field and comedic entertainment may start to haze together. As schools and university may require that teachers have a minimum number of jokes per course unit, in order to maximize education. It may not be something that would happen in a year or two but if we’re a society built on education then it is only logical that we would take advantage of a natural phenomenon. Computers where originally considered unsuitable for control systems that influence life, now we build life support machines dependent on them. It would be as simple as changing collage requirements to be a teacher to having some comedy courses instead of more electives.
Garner, R. L. “Humor in Pedagogy: How Ha-Ha Can Lead to Aha!.” College Teaching 2006: 177. JSTOR Journals. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.
When a person needs to address a topic to a single person or group but also is intended for publication. Normally open letters are written to critic or educated the reader on a subject.Open letters are normally an overlooked genre of literature in the modern day but this was not always the case. Open letters have been around for much of human history as a way to criticize and address problems in a group,society, or person.Even in modern day open letters are still written but their publicity compared to something like news is lack luster.In fact just last year(2016) the Scholars for Peace release another open letter, criticizing Turkish government’s military intervention in Kurdistan. Many famous people have wrote open letters, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Martin Luther King, even the company Google has wrote an open letter.
Wherever,Whenever a point needs to get across open letters are ideal.They’re able to be delivered by mail,electronically, or just public posted.By their nature of media they can always be about current topic because new letters are always being created.The only real draw back to open letters is that once they’re posted there is no way to undo what has been read. Until recently, It was also difficult to edit a letter.If there was a mistake or a flaw the only way to fix it was catch it before people read the letter.In the end,its a media that is timeless as the wind shifting from topic to topic,each letter addressing a problem of the time.
Lindy West is a female comedian who wrote an Open letter to white male comedians that is posted on Jezebel.com confronts the negative feedback she received in her post How to make a rape joke. The Preamble of her letter talks about hostility toward women in the comedic sector. She talks about how women are often discriminated against when criticizing topics, even when those same women are more experienced then their critics. Later stating women are 50% of the world population but are treated as a niche group.
She points out how male comedians treat rape victims less seriously then shootings by talking about Oswalt’s message about Aurora theater. Where Oswalt made a point about not joking about the shooting and its victims. The absurdity of not treating rape victims with the same respect as victims of gun violence is madness that she skillfully highlights.
Later on it talks about the social responsibility of comedy. Comedy can be used to confront social issues people don’t otherwise like to talk about. It can bring change and shape a society. But there are two sides to every coin. Comedy can be used to perpetuate problems, hurt victims,and drive people apart. Every person on the other of the joke is still human. A bad joke is just as hurtful as if you said it to their face, whether you mean it or not. So when her critics say “its just a joke” no, no its not.
At the end of the day, she talks about how no one can stop you from being hurtful or making theses jokes that drive people apart. That is your choice. However, she has just as much right to criticize others just as much as they do her. Comedy doesn’t belong to any one person, it belongs to everyone,whether they use to for good or evil.
Talking Funny featuring Ricky Gervais, Louis CK, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld is 40-50-minute video about these four famous comedians talking about what it’s like being a famous comedian. From this casual talk show we see some major ideas that shows why these comedians are successful and what it’s like to be a comedian.
Louis C.K said “Comedy is taking people to places that they have fear, foreboding, and making them laugh in that place.” By this quote, we can infer that people have foreboding ideas that they prefer not to think of. However, good comedy can make people think about these ideas in ways they may never otherwise found on their own.
Later on, we see that comedy isn’t just someone talking, its different than that. We see that comedians often times use facade and say some pretty extreme things to contrast the ideas we see commonly in day to day by turning them to eleven. This is shown when Louis says “I’ve said things on stage that if any person was to take them as statements I would look like the worst person alive, but that’s what makes the bit work.”
It’s so important the messages of their work that they often throw out or edit parts of their act that may distract form the message at hand. Ricky Gervais stated “I go back over the footage they’re going to put on the DVD and cut out the bits I didn’t really like. The ones that really didn’t do anything for the bit.” All the comedians have their preferred message and how to get the audience to receive it, and what parts to cut out for interfering with that message. For example, Chris Rock sometimes repeats the punch line to get his point across. Louis C.K replaces his material he dislikes. This shows how the message the comedian is trying to get across influences their act.
In closing, these comedians are famous not just because they think of new and creative humor, but because that creative humor has a meaning behind it that confronts problems that saturate our society that people often won’t face on their own, especially in a positive light. They put time and effort into perfecting their act and looking at what their deeper message is.
In pages 68-95 of Proud To Be An American Satirist the author Sophia McClennen’s establishes that Humor that doesn’t make the audience ask questions or challenge the status-quo offers no substance. She talks about comedy scene shortly after the 9/11 attack“shortly after the 9/11 attacks some suggested that humor was a necessary balm, a therapeutic act that could help heal a wounded nation…..This was humor to have fun and enjoy life, not to ask questions or challenge the status quo.”
From this we see that humor can help heal but without making the reader ask real world questions can never be anything more then something to be used then discarded. If healing humor exist so does its inverse.
Humor that distracts from real issues by downplaying them or writing them off completely is destructive. McClennen quotes Paul Lewis talking about sadistic humor “In addition, Lewis points to the damage done by jokes that tend to dismiss troubling subjects through amusement and silliness, downplaying real pain and suffering,and threatening compassion and concern for others.”In this we see opposite side of comedy and how it can used to twist human morality. So the question is who is it twisting?
She goes on to explain how media educates us saying “This idea draws on Henry Giroux’s theory of public pedagogy,which argues that most learning takes place outside the traditional classroom and that public culture is often the primary means through which society acquires knowledge and learns to model social interactions.”When you think of how many high school students, collage students,and young adults view this material and repeat its jokes, now can you understand the importance of its venue. McClennen overlooks some of the other forms of comedy like South Park.
McClennen claims that Pseudo-Satires like South Park offer only cynical humor with no real attempt to get people to think about problems. A bold claim considering IMDb actually rates South Park higher then The Colbert Report. By south park’s 14th Premiere it had 3.7 million viewers compared to Colbert’s 2 million.As for South Park lacking in satirical content I would have to disagree. In fact there is even a wiki page dedicated to sorting through the main satirical themes of the show. As well online discussions all over the internet and Reddit talking about the meanings behind each episode.
In the end McClennen did well to research Satirical comedy and back up her thesis, but was too hasty in writing off other forums of comedy