Humour is an act of aggression, claims German academic

It is something that the British have suspected for years - that the Germans are devoid of a sense of humour.

Now we can confirm the rumour as fact, after a German academic has claimed that humour is an act of aggression.

Helga Kotthoff, of the Frieburg University if Education, said: "Comedy and satire are based on aggressiveness and not being nice."

The British pride themselves on their sense of humour, but I doubt the Germans will be watching Blackadder or Fawlty Towers any time soon.

Humour is an act of aggression, claims German academic

Humour is an act of aggression and making others laugh means you see yourself as higher up the social ladder than your audience, according to a German academic.

23 Aug 2009
The Telegraph

British comedy series Blackadder will never catch on in Germany

The ability to make others laugh confers a degree of control which dominant people exploit to show they are in charge, claims Helga Kotthoff of the Frieburg University of Education.

"Those 'on top' are freer to make others laugh. They are also freer to be more aggressive and a lot of what is funny is making jokes at someone else's expense," she said.

"Displaying humour means taking control of the situation from those higher up the hierarchy and this is risky for people of lower status, which before the 1960s meant women rarely made other people laugh -- they couldn't afford to.

"Comedy and satire are based on aggressiveness and not being nice," she said.

"Until the 1960s it was seen as unladylike to be funny. But even now women tend to prefer telling jokes at their own expense and men tend to prefer telling jokes at other people's expense."

The differences between men's and women's ability to become comedians starts very young, she said. Boys as young as four or five tell more jokes, frolic and clown about while girls tend to be the ones doing the laughing.

But in later age women tend to become funnier because they feel freer to not be seen as ladylike.

She said humour, including teasing, was a mix of 'bonding and biting' and women often use humour to form social bonds with their friends while men often use humour to vent frustration. But both sexes use comedy as a means of controlling others.

She said: "For example, doctors sometimes use humour to comfort patients but also to silence them if, for example, the patient displays too much knowledge of a medical condition.

"Nurses and midwives tend to tell jokes about patients but not when the doctor is present. And when someone initiates a joke they tend to be ignored if they are in the presence of someone of a higher status."

Until the sexual revolution of the 1960s women rarely became comediennes in public or private because most humour is an act of aggression, she said. "A study in the late 1980s showed that men use sexual jokes as a way of verbally undressing a woman who rebuts his advances; his humour was aggressive in essence."

The study was published in the Journal of Pragmatics.

A collection of Blackadder quotes

"Baldrick, your brain is like the four headed, man-eating haddock fish beast of Aberdeen"
"In what way? "
"It doesn't exist "

- Edmund & Baldrick


M: Unhappily Blackadder, the Lord High Executioner is dead.
BA: Oh woe ! Murdered of course.
M: No, oddly enough no. They usually are but this one just got careless one night and signed his name on the wrong dotted line. They came for him while he slept.

- Melchett & Blackadder

"Right, good morning team. My name is Edmund Blackadder and I'm the new minister in charge of religious genocide. Now, if you play straight with me you'll find me a considerate employer, but cross me and you'll find that under this playful boyish exterior beats the heart of a ruthless sadistic maniac. "

- Edmund Blackadder's induction speech as Lord High Executioner

"To you it's a potato, to me it's a potato. But to Sir Walter Bloody Raleigh it's country estates, fine carriages, and as many girls as his tongue can cope with. He's making a fortune out of the things; people are smoking them, building houses out of them... They'll be eating them next. "

- Blackadder


Percy: I must say, Edmund, it was jolly nice of you to ask me to share your breakfast before the rigours of the day begin.
Edmund: Well, it is said, Percy, that civilised man seeks out good and intelligent company, so that, through learned discourse, he may rise above the savage and closer to God.
P: Yes, I've heard that.
E: Personally, however, I like to start the day with a total dickhead to remind me I'm best.

M: Bonjour, monsieur.
E: What?
M: Bonjour, monsieur -- it's French.
E: So is eating frogs, cruelty to geese and urinating in the street, but that's no reason to inflict it on the rest of us.
E: Doesn't anyone know? We hate the French! We fight wars against them! Did all those men die in vain on the field at Agincourt? Was the man who burned Joan of Arc simply wasting good matches?

- Mrs Miggins & Edmund Blackadder, commenting on the new craze for France in England


Farewell, Blackadder [hands him a parchment]. The foremost cartographers of the land have prepared this for you; it's a map of the area that you'll be traversing. [Blackadder opens it up and sees it is blank] -They'll be very grateful if you could just fill it in as you go along. Bye-bye.

Lord Melchett & EB

Edmund: (wearily) Oh god. What time is it?
Baldrick: Four o'clock.
E: Baldrick, I've told you before: you mustn't let me sleep all day; this woman charges by the hour!
B: No, My Lord, it's four o'clock in the morning.
E: Someone wants to see me at four in the morning? What is he, a giant lark?
B: No, he's a priest.
E: Tell him I'm jewish.
Molly: (pushing herself out from beneath the covers at the foot of the bed) Aren't you going to introduce me, then?
E: What?
M: Aren't you going to introduce me to your friend?
E: Oh very well, but I think you're making a terrible mistake. Baldrick,I'm delighted to introduce you to ... I'm sorry, I've forgotten your name.
M: Mollie!
E: Of course, Mollie. Baldrick, this is Mollie, a dear friend of mine.
M: I'm not dear. I'm very reasonable actually, Baldrick. Most girls would charge an extra sixpence for all the horrible things he wants to do.
E: Alright, alright. Baldrick, this is Mollie, an inexpensive prostitute. Mollie, this is Baldrick, a pointless peasant. Now let me get some sleep.
Last edited by Blackleaf; Aug 23rd, 2009 at 01:51 PM..
She needs to go buy a sense of humour, it's quite obvious she lacks one.
Humour can be an act of aggression in some instance, especially if it is directed against minorities or a certain group of people.

Thus I find jokes aimed at blacks, women (especially blondes), homosexuals etc. to be in extremely poor taste. In USA they are fond of telling Polish jokes, or in Canada we tell Newfie jokes. Again, in very poor taste.

In England, some comedians tell ‘Paki’ jokes. Paki is short for Pakistani, and is a derogatory term (like ni—er) to describe all immigrants. Again, such jokes are hurtful, in poor taste and are definitely an act of aggression.

On the other hand, there is plenty of humour that is not derogatory to anybody. Such humour is difficult to write, it is much easier to make fun of one group or another. But such humour is long lasting and can be enjoyed by everybody.

One prominent example of such humour is P.G.Wodehouse, especially his Jeeves and Wooster stories and novels. Such humour (Jeeves and Wooster, Gilbert and Sullivan etc.) is immortal and will be remembered long after racist, sexist, homophobic etc. jokes are forgotten in the mists of time..
Just goes to show that level of education and intelligence do not go hand in hand. What a pile of rubbish.
Aggressive? Nah.
"Humor is reason gone mad" - Groucho Marx

"A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing. " - William James

"It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously" - Oscar Wilde

"Some people are like Slinkies. They aren't really good for anything but you can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs" - I don't know who said that one.

"The kind of humor I like is the thing that makes me laugh for 5 seconds but think for 10 minutes" - William Davis

"Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it. " - E B White

"The problem is that God gave men a brain and a *****, but only enough blood to run one at a time" - Robin Williams

"Humor is a rubber sword - it allows you to make a point without drawing blood" - Mary Hirsch

"Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven" Sam Clemens

"Humor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs." - Christopher Morley

"A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road. " - H W Beecher

"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is." - Francis Bacon

"A pun is the lowest form of humour - when you don't think of it first." - Oscar Levant

"Of puns it has been said that those who most dislike them are those who are least able to utter them." - E A Poe
What's the thinnest book in the world?

The book of German Humour.........
""Displaying humour means taking control of the situation from those higher up the hierarchy and this is risky for people of lower status, which before the 1960s meant women rarely made other people laugh -- they couldn't afford to."

You seem to have missed the humor in the comment by the German.
#8  Top Rated Post
Quote: Originally Posted by tayView Post

What's the thinnest book in the world?

Great English Cuisine.

The Thrill of Cricket.

Canadian Culture.

The Wit and Wisdom of America.
Quote: Originally Posted by TecumsehsbonesView Post

Canadian Culture.

Canadian culture is grown in a petri dish.

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