Authors
Chris A. Kramer
Santa Barbara City College
Abstract
This paper begins by taking seriously former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ response in his What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? to systematic violence and oppression. He claims that direct argumentation is not the ideal mode of resistance to oppression: “At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed.” I will focus on a few elements of this playful mode of resistance that conflict with the more straightforward strivings for abstract, universal, objective, convergent, absolute thinking that champions reason over emotion, logic over narrative, and science over lived experience. In contrast, the type of protest employed by people like Douglass can utilize aesthetics and logic, playfulness and seriousness, emotion, even anger, and reason. Douglass provides examples of humorous, sincere parrhesia, oscillating between the lexicon of the dominant sphere and the critical reflection from a trickster on the margins. This will require an analysis of Michel Foucault’s conception of parrhesia: courageous truth-telling in the face of powerful people or institutions. It is a study of humor in the parrhesiastes, an element I think neglected by Foucault. I argue that the humorous parrhesiastes offers a mode of resistance which can subvert oppressive power structures that perpetuate injustice, revealing the fact that humor can be integral in courageous truth-telling.
Keywords Philosophy  Political Philosophy  Michel Foucault  Humor  Frederick Douglass  Philosophy of Race  Oppression  Ethics  Laughter
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Thought Experiments, Intuitions, and Cognitive Equilibrium.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2007 - In Peter A. French & Howard K. Wettstein (eds.), Philosophy and the Empirical. Blackwell. pp. 68-89.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

An Existentialist Account of the Role of Humor Against Oppression.Chris A. Kramer - 2013 - Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 26 (4).
Feeling Racial Pride in the Mode of Frederick Douglass.Jeremy Fischer - 2021 - Critical Philosophy of Race 9 (1):71-101.
The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor.Joseph Carpino - 1987 - Review of Metaphysics 41 (2):405-406.
Belief and the Basis of Humor.Niall Shanks & Hugh LaFollette - 1993 - American Philosophical Quarterly 30 (4):329-39.
Humor, Sublimity and Incongruity.John Marmysz - 2001 - Consciousness, Literature and the Arts 2 (3).
Philosophy of Humor.Joshua Shaw - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (2):112-126.
World-Traveling, Double Consciousness, and Laughter.Chris Kramer - 2017 - Israeli Journal for Humor Research 2 (6):93-119.
Subversive Humor as Art and the Art of Subversive Humor.Chris A. Kramer - 2020 - The Philosophy of Humor Yearbook 1 (1):153–179.
Subversive Humor.Chris A. Kramer - 2015 - Dissertation, Marquette
The Philosophy of Laughter and Humor.John Morreall (ed.) - 1986 - State University of New York Press.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2020-10-12

Total views
64 ( #157,780 of 2,419,521 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
64 ( #11,244 of 2,419,521 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes