Loopholes: Reading Comically

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-06-15
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Much writing about comedy in the last twenty years hasonly trivialized comedy as cheap or as temporary distractionfrom things that "really matter."It has either presentedexhaustive taxonomies of kinds of humor-like wit, puns,jokes, humor, satire, irony-or engaged in pointless politicalendgames, moral dialogues, or philosophical perceptions.Comedy is rarely presented as a mode of thought inits own right, as a way of understanding, not somethingto be understood.Bruns’guiding assumption is that comedy is not simplya literary or theatrical genre, to be differentiated fromtragedy or from romance, but a certain way of disclosing,perhaps undoing, the way the world is organized. Whenwe view the world in terms of what is incompatible, weare reading comically. In this sense, comedy exists outsidethe alternatives of tragic and comic. It is a form of relieffrom the difficulties of everyday life.Loopholes argues that trivialization of comedy comesfrom fear that it will address our anxieties with honesty-and it is this truth that scares us. John Bruns discussescomedy as a mode of thought with a cognitive function.It is a domain of human understanding, a domain farmore troubling and accessible than we care to acknowledge.To "read comically" we must accept our fears. If wedo so, we will realize what Bruns refers to as the mostneglected premise of comedy, that the world itself is aloophole-both incomplete and limitless.

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