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Laughter As A Means For Subtle Human Satiation

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posted on Nov, 14 2008 @ 07:52 PM
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Humor, when used as a defense mechanism, is the channeling of unacceptable impulses or thoughts into a light-hearted story or joke. Humor reduces the intensity of a situation, and places a cushion of laughter between the person and the impulses.
Sublimantion




Humor is also a defense mechanism (Chapter 2) that can help people handle stress or conflict by draining the seriousness from situations and by providing an alternative and usually safe way of discharging tension, often with some element of hostility or aggression. "We all recognize that humor makes life so much easier..."

Freud suggested [humor] 'can be recognized as the highest of these defensive processes'" (Valliant), 1993, pg. 72).Human Behavior In The Social Environment


The above two excerpts demonstrate that laughter can be a way to release tension and stress.

Do we suppose that popular culture may be be unconsciously structured so as to encourage these types of stress release habits?

Well, sure. The popular format for television at one time was that of the sitcom, in which the most popular were termed 'water cooler' subjects for office work. The successful comedian usually employs a repetoire of human actions and statements by which to make light of their existence (which acts as a type of centering of human issues by illustrating the commanality of human experience.

Recently, due to the onset of instantaneous global communication, we have seen humor in many aspects, from the youtube culture to the political satirist.

And that is where I think we may have a conspiracy (though for all intents and purposes, regarding the universal utilization of humor as a social tool).

Bush has done a terrible job in the opinions of many people worldwide. But there wasn't any real action on behalf of anyone to prevent his actions. From the deceit that was used to justify a war in Iraq (that Bush Sr. started for arguably legitiment reasons) to the passing of legislation allowing for retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies participation in what was at the time illegal spying on American citizens.

The most common action against the Bush administration was that of 'belittling' and 'joking' of not only the man, but the policies. From the Dan Quayle 'potatoe' spelling incident that made its' way onto the sitcom Murphy Brown to the endless propagation of Bushisms, we see the popular dilineation of the average American population with their leaders.

How does this serve the American public? We are left with focusing on the inane aspects of our political leadership despite the fact that they are making many decisions that many disagree with.

Put another way, we as a population usually disregard the actions of our political leaders as moronic, level it with a few jokes that ease the stress of the recognition of their percieved shortcomings and then we continue on our way.

So, given the huge amount of research regarding the human animal that has taken place and the fact that the overwhelming majority of speeches given by our political leaders contain generalities that reinforce idealogical expressions, do we suppose that humor and the indirect denigration of our political process is in fact at times intentional?

Some of us may have signed petitions or been apart of some passive political protest, only to be 'satiated' into finding the next topic in the constantly changing news reels that highlights a different topic everyminute. Even the pace of ATS and the desire to 'read all that is posted' has kind of cultivated its' own means of dissuasion towards any real action.

So here are three questions for the members of ATS:

1) Is humor utilized too often in regards to the popular opinion and ingestion of political and international events?

2) Does humor at times reinforce the Partisanship that the two party system has promoted?

3) Does humor and its' seemingly indirect way to pacify an individual denote a completely different outlook on our society when comapring an 'average American' and a 'political leader'?

It doesn't seem coincedence that the political satire cartoons were/are located at the end of the 'Headlines' portion of newspapers.

4) Does the above suggest an intention to relieve the psychological stress/tension incurred from reading the 'serious' headlines of the days paper?

My appreciation for those who decide to take a look at this topic for what it is...a possibility and not a static accusation. It is by examining our own reactions to life and observing our daily actions/reactions that we may truly gain an insight to our reality and perhaps there is where we can find hope for actual change.

Edit: To fix ex tags

[edit on 14-11-2008 by MemoryShock]




posted on Nov, 14 2008 @ 08:19 PM
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reply to post by MemoryShock
 



1) I think it takes some intelligence to recognize sarcasm for what it is. A joke is funny, but to make a joke of something serious requires some tolerance and some respect in equal measure to retain some balanced judgement. If you don't take something very seriously it can be funny. If it is something you take seriously you may not get the enjoyment of the joke. Is it used too much? No I don't think so. The more stressful life gets the funnier things can seem. When you tell a hard luck story to someone a few years later, when things finally worked out, it can seem funny.


2) Humor is a social tool, it probably helps to lighten partisan conflict. again balance is needed.
3) I don't know that it pacifies an individual by having made fun of one in a higher authority than oneself. I think making fun of people in authority is a staple of comedic material. Making fun of your boss and your parents is fun. Makes them seem more human, and at the same time you lose a little respect for them... or awe and intimidation.
4)think the placement of the cartoons should be at the end of a serious discussion as opposed to the beginning. At least it makes more sense to me. To make fun of something before you read it is like getting the punchline first...



posted on Nov, 14 2008 @ 08:33 PM
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There are very different expectations in comparing an average American and a political leader. One is put under a microscope to evaluate them, and in that process we notice many little details. We study them, their behavior, we see them regularly on TV. The average American is just that. Average. Everyone and anyone. That is vague. Vague isn't very funny.



posted on Nov, 14 2008 @ 09:15 PM
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reply to post by MemoryShock
 


Some very thought provoking information there MemoryShock


I think you would enjoy reading Matt Ripley's "The Origins of Virtue".
Steven Pinker or Jared Diamond....


On the subject of laughter , here are the thoughts of Dr. V. S Ramachandran
Laughter is nature's OK signal



For example, a portly gentleman walking toward his car slips on a banana peel and falls. If he breaks his head and blood spills out, obviously you are not going to laugh. You are going to rush to the telephone and call an ambulance. But if he simply wipes off the goo from his face, looks around him, and then gets up, you start laughing. The reason is, I suggest, because now you know it's inconsequential, no real harm has been done. I would argue that laughter is nature's way of signaling that "it's a false alarm."



posted on Nov, 14 2008 @ 09:19 PM
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1) Is humor utilized too often in regards to the popular opinion and ingestion of political and international events?
************************************
Not really. So many different people will find something amusing while so many others will not. Humour is often "branded" in the media as well as popular shows. FOX has it's own "brand" of humour used to make certain points and the "typical" FOX viewer might appreciate the jokes or humourous spins...where as a BBC news watcher may react quite differently to the "branded" humour.

The same for shows like family Guy, American dad...SNL. There are certain demographics of people that loyally tune in and the humour is "branded" to reach that audience.

The internet is prolific! College Humour and similar sites offer their own "brand" of humour, but on the internet I think the choices are bit more extensive than fixed media like TV or radio.

2) Does humor at times reinforce the Partisanship that the two party system has promoted?
*****************************************
Without a doubt. Even though I'm Canadian I see it here wielded as effectively as any sword. Those in the middle grounds (higher grounds) have always had a field day. From TV newscasts, to news articles to internet blogs, bipartisan have always used different forms of humour (sarcasm being a favorite) to further promote


3) Does humor and its' seemingly indirect way to pacify an individual denote a completely different outlook on our society when comparing an 'average American' and a 'political leader'?
*********************************

When it's a politician making a joke about his public...it's usually done very delicately or it's done completely off the cuff and they pay for it later. Most often I've seen it from Bush, and in Canada Brian Mulroney was notorious for making jokes aimed at the Canadian public. here though we seem to take it a bit differently I think. Not sure why.

When it's the public making a joke about a politician it's normal and expected.

is that what you were asking in part?

4) Does the above suggest an intention to relieve the psychological stress/tension incurred from reading the 'serious' headlines of the days paper?
***********************************
Personally it hasn't lessened any of my stresses. Most of the puns, sarcasms, jokes, leadership mocking etc etc etc has just served to increase my stress and anxiety. many times I find myself thinking "okay that's just not funny..." Somethings are too real and painful to be amusing.

Some of it though is also very enlightening. take some of the jokes coming out about the Bailouts (happening worldwide now)...they are amusing anecdotes, clever and sting with sarcasm at the same time causing one to think about the situation and how ludicrous it truly is. Rather than pacify some I think it may actually spur them to take a deeper look into what's happening around them.

A well written sarcastic essay or news story will usually have me searching for more info as opposed to just giving me a giggle a or two.


Overall...I think life is one big slap stick comedy. Some parts are really lame jokes...others are real side splitters. But the laugh factor will be different from one person to the next.



posted on Nov, 14 2008 @ 09:19 PM
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sourceRamachandran in summation ....



Why is this useful from an evolutionary standpoint? I suggest that the rhythmic staccato sound of laughter evolved to inform our kin who share our genes; don't waste your precious resources on this situation; it's a false alarm. Laughter is nature's OK signal.

V.S. Ramachandran in his book: A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness:


[edit on 14-11-2008 by UmbraSumus]
Add source


[edit on 14-11-2008 by UmbraSumus]



posted on Nov, 14 2008 @ 09:35 PM
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Originally posted by UmbraSumus



I would argue that laughter is nature's way of signaling that "it's a false alarm."


Exactly my point!

If laughter is a physiological reaction to real world experience that was determined to be a 'false alarm', then it could be the answer to our more subtle interactions with stress.

It is the making fun of the stressful moments that help detract from the tension and idealogical/social differences we have regarding disagreements with other people.

My reason for this thread is that of presenting the question that our societal structure has recognized this and is using it as a means to dissuade from any real action that would motivate people beyond their day to day lifestyle.

Not that I am advocating a dissedence, mind you. I am merely trying to begin dialogue towards the recognition of our own reactions in response to events and situations we can't control.

Perhaps making jokes is our way, at times, of acknowledging our lack of control...



posted on Nov, 14 2008 @ 09:42 PM
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The root of a real true Joke,

Not sarcasm but a Juxtaposition of two conflicting points of view or truth, that don't normally go together produce a "Tension" in the consciousness, as the mind tries to link together two apposing or different things, and make sense of them, to see the connection...

The Tension or searching/confusion of the mind at that time is then released when we "Get It"

This release is then usually followed by a relaxing of the mind in that "Aha" moment.

In classic Asian philosophy this can also be a way to enlightenment, as the experience of "Satori" or enlightenment in especially Zen.

This has been described as being like this when you see the space or experience that release in the mind, the Satori when you finally experience the truth or Reality of all that is, that lies between the ego's constant "I" and separate generating reaffirming illusion and the deep wisdom in us all, the true mind, and the tension of opposites most of us experience subconsciously all of our lives after developing a separate "I" or "Ego" at around the age of 5-7 yrs old.

It is also why children are often described as being closer to the truth and many deep spiritual practises actually train you to "Be like a Child Again".

Not as deep politically, socially or Spin wise as your very salient Post MemoryShock, but IMHO a lot closer to the truth.

As an example and not verbatim but a little story:



There was a very long trained and devote Zen Monk, hundreds of years ago in Japan.

He was always pestering his Master for the truth or wanting to get to Satori.

He was to intellectual though, and his master knew this that it isn't just knowledge but also feeling and just way of seeing, as there is knowing and understanding.

The monk as he got older was concerned he would never "get It" and his master would die before he ever progressed from his current very close to Satori state, but he could not relax his mind enough to get their, his consciousness was too "Tight" and therefore still holding onto the illusion of "I" as separate.

After a particular very long period of constant questioning, and asking his master the Master took him one day to a local lake for a one - on -one.

All day he taught, guided, showed, as the sun was going down, the master knew his students mind was so close, and his own life was very limited now.

Master to student one more time pointing to a reed bank by the lake,

"Do you see those reeds?"

Monk - "Yes"

Mater - "Describe them"

Monk - “Reeds big ones, some are close, some are far, some new shoots..."
Monk was confused... didn't see the point.

Master Pointing to them again..."Relax, too intellectual what do you see?"

Monk trying to be clever and sarcastic outwitting his master, pointed to them as well, looking and said
- "Some Long Some short"

Master then took out his Knife, as the monk finished the above sentence and cut off his Pointing Index finger!.....

The monk for 1/2 second looked horrified looking at the hand with the pointing finger not there, in his shock the Master shouted and pointed to the reeds
"WHAT DO YOU SEE?"

Monk Looks from his pointing finger not there to the reeds and before he could say “Some short, Some Long" reached "Satori" became enlightened and started laughing!!!!!


Laughter comes in many forms but true laughter is rare and probably not seen as funny to most of Us!

For those of you not really "getting" the story above, reeds are reeds, here and there, close and far is an illusion; the "Reedness" of reeds is all that there really is.

The rest is our ego and separate "I" comparing, separating distinguishing as it does at all times to fool us into thinking we are "Separate" from everything else (as quantum mechanics is proving is false now too).

When the monk saw that his experience of the long fingers and short fingers where the same as the reeds, and illusion, especially when the finger was cut of and he could still feel it initially, and as he had seen reeds cut down so much before in his life, the separation of him, the reeds, his separate fingers and all that is was lost.

He laughed as even though initially shocked and in Pain (created by the ego) when that "Tension" of his "I" and "Enlightenment/Reality" ( unity, one mind quantum entanglement etc) was released for the first time in his life, and the natural human response is too laugh but truly there is laughing and laughing my friends.

Political humour is just a laughing "At" something, increasing the differentiation between things; real laughter is relaxing into reality and releasing the tension of a life of illusion!

Kind Regards,

Elf.



posted on Nov, 14 2008 @ 10:38 PM
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I would have liked that story better if it had been about "seagrassness". knot a 1-lina.



posted on Nov, 14 2008 @ 10:45 PM
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Originally posted by seagrass
I would have liked that story better if it had been about "seagrassness". knot a 1-lina.


well that preference liking Seagrass more than reeds is the very thing, separation, difference, this, that, us, them that its about,

However maybe you are being very profound and wise indeed as well, without knowing how you felt when you typed that its difficult to say !!!

Anyhow without me trying to project my illusion of being spiritually superior and that is the whole point of not being that sort of being eh...

do it,

Long sea Grass, Short Seagrass,

Close Seagrass Far Seagrass,

Now I will cut of your Flipper or webbed finger maybe Gill or fin.


As the very simple but deep as my first post on this thread shows saying

"Same chicken, Different feathers"

Laughs
Elf

[edit on 14-11-2008 by MischeviousElf]



posted on Nov, 14 2008 @ 11:39 PM
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How did you know I was a mermaid ol wise one? superior indeed...



posted on Nov, 15 2008 @ 12:07 AM
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Originally posted by MemoryShock

1) Is humor utilized too often in regards to the popular opinion and ingestion of political and international events?


Sometimes. During this past administration I can effectively state that I have met more than my fair share of people whose entire political ideology stemmed no further than satirical parody.

I've noticed a surprising amount of people (however well meaning) who cannot hold a serious political discussion without throwing out a comdedic joke or "insight" into the mix. Note: I sometimes fall into this catagory myself, so I'm not saying that it's a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.

What DOES concern me, however, are people who are so influenced by sitcoms and shows like "Family Guy" (don't get me wrong, I watch those as well) that they begin to absorb the casual lazziez-faire attitude in response to everything of consequence. This also goes beyond politics on many occassions, especially with certain age groups.


2) Does humor at times reinforce the Partisanship that the two party system has promoted?


I believe in does. Rare have I heard a joke referencing Libertarians, Independants and/or any of the other "lesser known" political persuations.

For the most part, there's more comedy and drama to be had in sticking with the bi-partisan "us versus them" mentality.


3) Does humor and its' seemingly indirect way to pacify an individual denote a completely different outlook on our society when comapring an 'average American' and a 'political leader'?

It doesn't seem coincedence that the political satire cartoons were/are located at the end of the 'Headlines' portion of newspapers.


I believe it can serve to widen the gap between the common human experiences of the common man and the politician. Most political satire pokes fun at the "status and power" of the politician, and the "unfair burden betset upon the working man" being subjected to those political decisions. That just reinforces the general publics inability to cotrol the greater forces at work, and sometimes - can make one feeling smaller and less important than their representatives.

In many ways, such representations radically distort.

Also, the reinforcement of the cartoonish Republican Elephant and the Democratic Donkey also serves to distance the common man from two very real, very HUMAN parties.


4) Does the above suggest an intention to relieve the psychological stress/tension incurred from reading the 'serious' headlines of the days paper?


In part. I see it serving a two-fold purpose.

1.) For the more educated and discriminating reader, it provides a relief from the very real pressures of changing policies and political dramas.

2.) For the less educated, it provides a childlike format that is easily understood and easily read with a minimum of rhetoric.

The problem is, sometimes the crowd that relies solely on #2 for their political insight is prone to being extremely biased and impatient, and more often than not, takes the extremities of the cartooned parody at face value.


*clink clink*

Great thread, MemoryShock!



[edit on 11/15/08 by GENERAL EYES]



posted on Nov, 15 2008 @ 12:35 AM
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Originally posted by GENERAL EYES
Also, the reinforcement of the cartoonish Republican Elephant and the Democratic Donkey also serves to distance the common man from two very real, very HUMAN parties.


I think that is a relevant distinction in the context of the inducement of humor/partinisanship...

The caricature of animals helps to denigrate the reality of social/political issues...

Great Point!


4) Does the above suggest an intention to relieve the psychological stress/tension incurred from reading the 'serious' headlines of the days paper?




1.) For the more educated and discriminating reader, it provides a relief from the very real pressures of changing policies and political dramas.

2.) For the less educated, it provides a childlike format that is easily understood and easily read with a minimum of rhetoric.

The problem is, sometimes the crowd that relies solely on #2 for their political insight is prone to being extremely biased and impatient, and more often than not, takes the extremities of the cartooned parody at face value.


And that is the purpose of this thread...to try and establish the differences that the population incurs from popular expression from our political and economic leaders...




Great thread, MemoryShock!



Thanks! Much appreciated, especially regarding a topic that is 'fringe'...



posted on Nov, 15 2008 @ 08:11 PM
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You have been busy MemoryShock.



Originally posted by MemoryShock

1) Is humor utilized too often in regards to the popular opinion and ingestion of political and international events?


Not if we can use these occasions to understand how people deal with the issues at hand. Serious or not serious. Able to discuss or not? I think the everyday persons understanding of President Bush was reflected in the huge amount of humour found out there...eg: not a lot!


2) Does humor at times reinforce the Partisanship that the two party system has promoted?


Hmmmm? I think most of the humour is aimed at one party or the other, or one at a time, rarely do the two sides come together in the same joke/humour. I remember in the UK, the "Liberals" had a really hard time at one point, and they were never the first or second choice when it came to voting.


3) Does humor and its' seemingly indirect way to pacify an individual denote a completely different outlook on our society when comapring an 'average American' and a 'political leader'?

It doesn't seem coincedence that the political satire cartoons were/are located at the end of the 'Headlines' portion of newspapers.


I feel that humour towards a politician is just a "front" for most people, easy to "fit in" if you laugh with others. Taking a stance means you might have to explain your views.
something many people can't actually do!


4) Does the above suggest an intention to relieve the psychological stress/tension incurred from reading the 'serious' headlines of the days paper?


I think it is encouraging people to think less seriously about the issues and play down the importance of the matters at hand. Easy to complain, hard to act.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think they should have the same cheap "canned laughter" in the political speeches as they do on tv shows. Tony Blair talking about the state of unemployment for instance with one of his cheesy grins seems all too fitting don't you think?

More "nitty-gritty", I love it and if my head hurts from thinking about it you're doing a good job.

A credit to ATS. star & flag. Go Shock Go



posted on Nov, 15 2008 @ 08:30 PM
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What an interesting way of looking at it, MemoryShock, and I think you're on to something.

There is a lot of historical literature about the uses of humor and mockery to maintain the status quo and drain tension from society (a good example being the "boy bishops" of medieval Europe; also the trope of "court jester" comes to mind), but I hadn't applied it to our modern forms of "subversive" humor.

I think it can work both ways though – in humor people can be shown truths that they would not acknowledge if presented directly. So it can be used to bring into public discourse genuinely subversive issues. But it individualizes the issues, and focuses our attention on the faces of power rather than the institutions of power – and even more so when we are given easily ridiculed or parodied men to elect as President.

I think the point that Umbra brings up about laughter being a "false alarm" signal is key here, and also what GENERAL EYES says about the public's tendency to adopt punchlines as political discourse (and yes, I do this too).

Have we lost the ability to distinguish between genuine criticism and poking fun at our political world?



posted on Nov, 15 2008 @ 09:11 PM
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Originally posted by americandingbat
Have we lost the ability to distinguish between genuine criticism and poking fun at our political world?


An interesting question indeed!

I submit that, yes, we have lost that distinction on a general level. I think that we have become more of a reactive mindset when it comes to information that is outside of our immediate day to day reality.

Which is why I think that the immediate inclination to make light of our 'leaders' may be intentional...the 'prolatariat; is the most dangerous animal of all and through the years, the powers that be must have been observing (much as we do, but the difference is that they have/are the ear that which makes the decisions).

But as well, it is a natural human inclination...which is why, if there is intention on this regard, it is so successfull!!

I want nothing to do with a mass awakening, however, I find it is relevant to discuss these seemingly inapplicable thoughts so as to 'up the ante' so to speak.

The internet has allotted the public for the first time in history to step up and speak on a level that the 'elite' are...in my opinion.

We should all second guess ourselves, in my opinion...



posted on Nov, 15 2008 @ 09:41 PM
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reply to post by MischeviousElf
 



The root of a real true Joke, Not sarcasm but a Juxtaposition of two conflicting points of view or truth, that don't normally go together produce a "Tension" in the consciousness, as the mind tries to link together two apposing or different things, and make sense of them, to see the connection... The Tension or searching/confusion of the mind at that time is then released when we "Get It" This release is then usually followed by a relaxing of the mind in that "Aha" moment.


That's so true , though it sounds remarkably like the last relationship i was in .....


The psychologist Edward de Bono remarked that the telling of a joke involved "lateral thinking",as a joke makes no sense at all , until the punch line is delivered..... and in a good joke , you can`t preempt the punch line.
The joke is funny .... in hindsight !
It like a mental ambush , this is why we laugh first and then our politically Correct Buzzer goes off. Laughter followed by a ohhhhh from the audience ....
........
or as MischeviousElf put it ,


a Juxtaposition of two conflicting points of view or truth, that don't normally go together produce a "Tension" in the consciousness,



posted on Nov, 15 2008 @ 11:31 PM
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A smile will increase your face value



posted on Nov, 15 2008 @ 11:32 PM
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Originally posted by Bejing
A smile will increase your face value


For what purpose?
 


Such is the point...



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 07:40 AM
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The very origins of humor are spontaneous in nature. Humor that has been contrived is no humor in my opinion.

In reading your OP this personal distinction comes to mind. We dont laugh at humor if we sense that is used to disguise political dishonesty. Similar to canned laughter, it feels fake to all but the most imbecile.

That said, I would disagree if you suggest "serious people" (politicians, businessmen) should not use humor. It can lighten things up, and when things are lightened up, issues de-polarize, stuckness dis-charges and processes become more effective. But maybe we are both referring to different kinds of humor, the type you are referring to, not really being "humor" in its original sense.



[edit on 17-11-2008 by Skyfloating]





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