Category Archives: Occupy Wall Street

In the Archives: An Easy Chair in an Uneasy World (1920)

It may be heresy to admit on a website dedicated to American humor that I find great relief in the British variant. Since I first learned of knights who say Ni! I’ve thoroughly appreciated heady concepts wrapped in silly nonsense. I have even found principles to incorporate in my general code of conduct, for instance, in Douglas Adams’s lesser known Dirk Gently detective series, Adams introduces the concept of zen navigation.

“I rarely end up where I was intending to go, but often I end up somewhere that I needed to be.” You’d be amazed the liberty one feels at discovering the correct destination when relieved of plotting the course. Such was the case for this week’s submission to the Archives.

Quite often we hear the careless expression “In the wake of…” and understand the causality of A on the outcome of B. But the idiom in this case homophonically reminds us of our vigil in a funeral while punning on the context of current events. When the broad scope of law enforcement pulled Boston Marathon suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev out of a boat in a Watertown backyard, neither the boat, the backyard, nor the town were near water. But the wake cast by that young man in the boat capsized Boston for the better part of a week.

I was fortunate to be at a Dairy Queen with a small child twenty miles from the finish line when the bombs went off Patriots’ Day. I plan to stay near that child as close as I can when I see the pictures of children whose parents can’t hold them again. It sends the mind looking for answers. I thought I might find them in precedent.

That's me on the left...

That’s me on the left…

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Happy New Year’s!

 

Merry Christmas!

Managing Editor

Originally from 2011, but Christmas comes every year, so welcome.  You might want to check out these holiday-themed pieces:

Bo Diddley, Santa Claus

by Matt Powell

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

by Caroline Sposto

In the Archives: Thomas Nast and Santa Claus (1862-1890)

by ABE

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

by Matt Powell

Santa is coming to town, so watch yourself.

by David Olsen

XMas Envy or The Plight of the Jews

by Steve Brykman

The Muppets: An Exercise in Humorous Metacinematic Irony

by Michael Giles Purgason

One of my favorite Christmas tales, from David Sedaris, on traditions of other places, including Santa in the Netherlands:

Also, hear him read from his Santaland Diaries.

And see below for some Christmas themed political cartoons (updated for 2013!):

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Occupy Wall Street Cartoons, Post 2

Tracy Wuster

There has been significant interest in the subject of political cartoons on Occupy Wall Street. Here are a few new cartoons and links of collections of cartoons.  The crackdowns on the OWS protesters this week have created new images connected to the subject–such as the anonymous or otherwise militarized police and the question of Constitutional rights.

Drew Sheneman-Tribune Media Services

Michael Ramirez-Creators Syndicate

While the comparison of the OWS movement to the Tea Party is undoubtedly important, the above cartoon seems shallow and not terribly humorous.  The below piece, on the other hand, is more evocative–and not entirely clear on its political stance.

Don Wright-Tribune Media Services

The above from: U.S. News  (See link for 22 more cartoons)

See below for:

Independent comic artists on the OWS movement

Liberal Website Daily Kos features regular comics as part of their activism

Michael Cavna’s Washington Post column on cartoons

Daryl Cagle’s Cartoon Blog

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Happy Birthday, Kurt Vonnegut!

Born November 11, 1922 in Indianapolis. Died April 11, 2007.

*Kurt Vonnegut Society

*Vonnegut Society CFP for ALA

*Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library 

*Biography

*a blog by his biographer

*What would Kurt Vonnegut think of Occupy Wall Street?

*Kurt Vonnegut Papers

*Kurt Vonnegut on Charlie Rose

*The Vonnegut Web

*Vonnegut on NOW

*Vonnegut Quotes

*follow Kurt Vonnegut on Twitter (Po-Tweet)

*People on the street react to Vonnegut’s death

*Vonnegut on “The Shape of Stories”

Buy Kurt Vonnegut to Support Our Site

The Essential Nature of American Laughter

M. Thomas Inge

Editor’s note:  In a little less than one year, the American people will elect a president.  In the past decade, politics has seemed to become much more polarized and impassioned–with the rise of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street as prominent examples.  Politics has also been consistent fodder for humor–with the rise of The Daily Show and the Colbert Report, as well as the continued influence of SNL and The Onion, among a myriad of other humorists commenting on politics and humor.  The interest of readers in the link between humor and politics is evident in the searches people use to find this site and in the consistent popularity of M. Thomas Inge’s piece “Politics and the American Sense of Humor,” which helped inaugurate this site.

In this spirit, Tom has graciously given us permission to post another piece.  Enjoy.

 

The Essential Nature of American Laughter

M. Thomas Inge

            For one brief moment in our history, it seemed that there was no humor in the land–September 11, 2001.  For the next few days, no jokes were passed among friends on the internet.  The New Yorker published no cartoons in its issue that week for the first time since Hiroshima and shrouded its cover in black.  Dave Barry announced to his readers, “No humor column today.  I don’t want to write it, and you don’t want to read it.”

Editorial cartoonists, caught with no time for reflection, traded in their wit and caricature for outrage and cliché and produced multiple images of the Statue of Liberty or Uncle Sam weeping or averting their faces from the carnage.  The irreverent weekly newspaper, The Onion, cancelled its next edition.  The David Letterman and Jay Leno shows went into reruns, and the comedy clubs closed down.  Even Gary Trudeau in Doonesbury declared his favorite target, George W. Bush, off-limits.  Comedy writers and performers gathered at a symposium on “Humor in Unfunny Times” in New York to discuss what their function should be at a time when the nation was racked by grief.  Several public intellectuals declared that irony, sarcasm, and comic cynicism had died in a country that has prided itself on its caustic sense of humor.  Finally permission to laugh came when mayor Rudolph Guiliani appeared on Saturday Night Live, along with New York police, fire, and rescue personnel.  After an opening tribute, the show’s director, Lorne Michaels, asked the mayor, “Can we be funny?” Guiliani quipped, “Why start now?”

This was a defining moment in our history, because Americans have always placed a high value on their ability to laugh.  William Faulkner once noted that “We have one priceless universal trait, we Americans.  That trait is our humor.”  Americans are thought to have a special sense of humor that often features exaggeration and hyperbole.  But our sense of humor has a direct link to our political system, what Robert Penn Warren once called a “burr under the metaphysical saddle of America.”

Comedy is encouraged by our democratic system because we have posited higher ideals than we can reach, but rather than berate ourselves, we engage in self-ridicule as a safety valve.  It is the incongruity between the ideal and the real, between the dream and the failure to achieve it, to which most American humor is addressed.  Has there ever been a time when we would not laugh at Mark Twain’s statement, that “there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress”?

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Happy Halloween!

While watching scary movies this weekend, I noticed the similarities between horror and humor: suspense released through an emotional response, expectations build up and often end in surprise, and lots and lots of blood…

*Seven Graveyard Smashes…our own music editor, Matt Powell, on Halloween music.

*Michael Collier’s “All Souls”

*Will Rogers in “The Headless Horsemen

*Halloween on Parks & Rec

*Comic Pumpkins

*Vincent Price and Muppets!

*Halloween music, via Nine Kinds of Pie

*the origin of Halloween traditions

*Werewolf Bar Mitzvah, spooky scary….

*A great version of Poe’s “The Raven” mixing humor and horror.

*Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals San Francisco Giants …via funny baseball quotes.

*Finally, some political cartoons  from the past few years, as Halloween tropes are recycled to address new fears and old.

2014

Halloween political cartoons 6970cf983d30e7e4962f8a71a43ee176f869250e 155447_600 155543_600 155561_600 155582_600 B1NJ0NWIAAAsybq.jpg-large Ebola-Quarantine halloween-cartoon-09 halloween-linus-great-pumpkin-political-cartoon halloween-political-cartoon-isis-ebola-scares halloween-political-cartoon-obama-halloween-candy halloween-political-cartoon-scaring-children halloween razorblades3

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