Authors
Chris A. Kramer
Santa Barbara City College
Abstract
I argue that the overt subjugation in the system of American slavery and its subsequent effects offer a case study for an existentialist analysis of freedom, oppression and humor. Concentrating on the writings and experiences of Frederick Douglass and the existentialists Simone De Beauvoir and Lewis Gordon, I investigate how the concepts of “spirit of seriousness”, “mystification”, and an existentialist reading of “double consciousness” for example, can elucidate the forms of explicit and concealed oppression. I then make the case that subversive humor is an effective means to bring to consciousness the inconsistencies and incongruities of the serious oppressors. I also illustrate how humor can act as a bulwark against the rise and persistence of oppression by (non-violently) attacking the absolutist stance on human nature maintained through the use of dominating and “authoritative” language and action.
Keywords Oppression  Freedom  Existentialism  Humor  Incongruity
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References found in this work BETA

The Ethics of Ambiguity.Simone de Beauvoir - 1948 - New York: Philosophical Library.
The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor.John Morreall (ed.) - 1986 - State University of New York Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Subversive Humor.Chris A. Kramer - 2015 - Dissertation, Marquette

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