Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I seem to remember James Thurber writing on the subject of what is not funny. He had received a letter from a reader recommending the humour of, I think, the Pawnee Indians which consisted of 'heavy banter'. Something similar has now happened to me. Don L.F.Nilsen, professor of English Linguistics at Arizona State University has sent me a flash drive 'full of humor-related PowerPoints and Video Clips.' Note that 'humor-related'. I missed it and, expecting some easy laughs, fired up the flash drive only to be confronted with some inscrutable PP presentations, the heavy banter of the business world and the hapless academic. One is called Onomastic Tropes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Bet you hadn't thought of that one had you? Prof. Nilsen is part of something called the International Society for Humor Studies. The front page of their web site announces that it's all about 'the advancement of humor research' and the society 'also includes professionals in the fields of counseling, management, nursing, journalism and theater'. I am now trying to think of a funny payoff but I can't, I really can't.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 10:51 am