A Marxist theory of Humor?

Michael Hesemann mhese at mail.hh.provi.de
Sun Jun 4 13:35:00 MDT 1995

Hi reader
Though humor is not of utmost importance for the political process, it`s at
least a means of political propaganda.

In Germany we have several leftist cabarets with prime-time transmissions on
several TV-channels (Huesch, Muenchner Lach- und Schiessgesellschaft,
Richling, Rogler ...). Every summer we have got a festival of caberets in
Hamburg with thousands of visitors. I can hardly remember any political
event with such big
audience. Satiric magazines, leftist fun comics, satiric political posters,
cartoons ... belong to our daily political perception. I would rather say,
that the german leftist movement has a powerful humor, satiric and cabaret

In former East-Germany humor and cabaret was almost the only means of public
opposition. Maybe you have heard of Wolf Biermann, who was thrown out of GDR
for his "humor".

I remember several political manifestations, where cabaretists were part of
the "show" and that was not for relaxation but transporting political views.
It was and is part of our political "life-style" and one of the reasons, that
the party of the Greens arose. The east-german PDS (former SED) also uses
satire, humor and political cabaret in their propaganda.

In your postings you disregard humor as of concern for marxists or reduce it
to the posting of jokes. I think you should take the propaganda-effect more
serious, espec. if you think of the weakness of the left movement in
the US. Think of Gramsci`s idea about achieving an ideological hegemony.

John Heartfield or Kurt Tucholsky are examples for satiric and humoristic
propaganda. Their heritage should be preserved and developed.

Michael Hesemann, Hamburg

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