2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

From Helen Keller to Saddam Hussein: Offensive Humor as Folklore
Andrew M. Warner
Dr. Betsy Delmonico, Faculty Mentor

Offensive humor has the ability to delight and horrify an audience. In recent months, the study of this humor has become increasingly important when considering the controversy based on the recent cartoons featuring Muhammad. Based on the ensuing events from the publications, it ought to be considered whether or not such humor can belong in any society. However, the jokes should not only be considered as harmful language. Offensive jokes help the audience confront social taboos. At the same time, these jokes provide a mental release from anxiety and anguish of the current world. Also, offensive jokes can be used as tools to advance oneself within a community. Using the research of noted folklorists like Alan Dundes and Roger Abrahams, I intend to prove offensive humor can serve a vital function within our society. In this paper, I examine the necessity and functions of inappropriate humor.

Keywords: humor, folklore, jokes

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 6-3
Location: VH 1408
Time: 9:15

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