Re: Laughing

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Sun 01 Dec 2002 - 07:44:46 GMT

  • Next message: "Laughter and Crying"

    >From: "Othman Mohamed" <>
    >Subject: Laughing
    >Date: Sat, 30 Nov 2002 16:10:43 -0500
    >Hello all,
    >I am new to the meme world and still don't understand a lot about it. I
    >read the Selfish gene book for Dawkins not so long ago and that is where I
    >got the idea. I read couple of books after that about memes and I must
    >admit it seems very appealing and interesting concept to me.
    >As we all know, laughing is only human thing as well as memes (some argue
    >that animals do possess memes, but I haven't bought that totally yet). I am
    >wondering how did we aquire that. Does it have something thing to do with
    >memes or not really? The correlation is there, it is just hard to imagine
    >how it came about. Did it have some survival advantagous to us or not
    >necesserly. On the other hand it is hard to reconcile it with the fact that
    >kids at very young age do laugh which suggest that it could be biological
    >thing rather than memetic thing.
    >Could any of you guys speculate in this or recommend specific readings
    >about it?
    Well I'm no expert on laughter, even if I fancy myself an amateur comedian
    (cymbal crash). If there is an innateness to laughter itself (as a response) in the human species, the things that make us laugh would still fall within the cultural realm, as they may vary from group to group and from time period to time period.

    I can watch Monty Python and "get it" some of the time, which would indicate that:

    a. Brits have a slightly different take on funny, but I would agree Rowan Atkinson should be knighted.

    b. Monty Python episodes come from a time period slightly removed from my own. I've watched Saturday Night Live episodes from the 70's and 80's that weren't always easy to get because the zeitgeist has shifted a tad. Carter and Reagan allusions might be hard to pick up on these days if one is not currently familiar with the stuff the jokes are relevant to, either because one is from a different culture or country that hasn't been exposed to the information that would make such allusions (eg- peanuts and jelly beans, which somewhat define the subsequent presidents) funny or if one in the U.S. is from a younger age group that wasn't around when Carter or Reagan were president. There's probably lots of humor from other parts of the world or other time periods that would part my hair.

    McGill, eh? I'd imagine lots of (Donald) Hebbian hero worship going on at the psychology department of your campus. He was the one true psychology guru.

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