A Marxist theory of Humor?

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Sun Jun 4 10:07:07 MDT 1995


A final word on this topic (at least from me ):

Michael Hesseman and Ron Press are right to point out that humor can be a
powerful propaganda tool.  As Ron said: "Humor is a tool."

Actually, the events I described recently have been filled with satire
and humor.  For instance, on Tuesday squatters in the buildings played
with supporters on the street by throwing bagels at them (doughnuts were
held in reserve for the cops).  Yesterday's demonstration had a tank made
of cardboard, wood and a metal frame and many dressed in theatrical
outfits and distributed fake money with political slogans.  Actually, the
movement in the East Village/Lower East Side has a long tradition of
street theater and comedy, due in large part to the presence of some
Yippies and Rainbow family types.  One of the reasons that movement has
persisted is because people have fun and party together at political
events.  Humor, thus, can be a powerful tool for political organizing not
only because it can (when skillfully applied) educate people and lead to
further support, but also because it can further motivate supporters,
raise spirits, and diminish the "burnout" effect.

On a more serious note, yesterday morning I was sitting on a park bench
with some squatters and activists when one of them turned to me and asked
in all seriousness:  "So ... how long will it be before they kill one of
us?"  None of us had an exact answer to that question, but, we were all of
the opinion that it's just a matter of time.

Jerry


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