[lit-ideas] Re: OLD JOKES

  • From: "Mike Geary" <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2007 22:46:56 -0500

>>Humor, like vernacular language itself, is generational.

Not so sure I agree.  Certainly there's topical humor, which might be more or 
less topical in a generational sense, but I wouldn't compare it to generational 
slanguage, which often seems to function mostly as a kind of identity marker.  
Humor, as we all know, can be verbal, physical, ironic, cruel, silly, 
disjunctive, contradictory, or nonsensical (and probably in some other ways 
that I can't think at the moment), and we all seem inclined to respond more or 
less so to particular types of humor, but I would argue that young people are 
responding as all people do, to one of those qualities.  And while it is true 
that a young person is less likely to understand the travails of an old age, 
and consequently (perhaps) not appreciate so fully the humor implicit in jokes 
about aging, I don't see that as essentially generational in the sense that 
each generation puts it's heroes on the pop charts.

Mike Geary

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: carol kirschenbaum 
  To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2007 5:10 PM
  Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: OLD JOKES

  It took just one month to obliterate my dual status--old and a student. Now 
that I don't have to pretend to share my sense of humor with students, am I 
free to analyze humor, thereby destroying any sense of it? Yes, I am, declares 
my inner (and outer) elder. Now we are one. 

  Humor, like vernacular language itself, is generational. Much of it today 
depends on TV. Actually, that's true for my era, too (anyone here remember 
riffing on "ooh! ooh!" from "Car 54"?)  Thing is, the 20s and 30s of today have 
no memory of the boomer's jokey stuff. Our jokey memories extend back only to 
our parents' 40s or so. 

  For a while, I kept up and volleyed back to the 20ish kids in their lingo. 
Shock and awe. I fit in. But for how long could I keep up the ruse? Ach phooey. 
Too much energy. 


  On 7/13/07, Mike Geary <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote: 
    "Grumpy old men may not be able to help it, as age could affect their sense 
of humour, scientists have found." 
    "A study by Washington University in St Louis found older people find it 
harder to understand jokes than students." 


    Hrrrumph! (as Erin would say)

    Mike Geary, wholly composed of 13 billion years old atomic particles in 
Memphis, but everyday discovering new things under the sun, or maybe just not 
remembering them from an hour ago.

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