Why so witty are Jews and African-Americans? I know!

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by coberst, May 10, 2007.

  1. coberst Registered Senior Member

    Why so witty are Jews and African-Americans? I know!

    “What must this people have suffered, that they might become thus beautiful?”—Nietzsche

    Wit is about many things but power may be its most important characteristic. I think that Jews and African Americans are successful wits in our society because wit provides them both an escape from the world’s discrimination and because it provides the witty with power that serves as a defense against the strong hate and discrimination that the world showers on Jews and Blacks.

    The other day I listened to an interview on NPR with Jerry Seinfeld. The interview took place many years ago before Seinfeld had made his appearance on the “Jerry Seinfeld” show. Jerry said something that surprised and impressed me. Jerry made it clear that he considers wit to be a very powerful force when welded in the hands of the comic.

    Wit allows the comic to manipulate the audience into becoming completely in the control of the comic. The successful comic quickly grabs the audience and makes them her captive, which s/he can lead in whatever direction desired.

    Freud wrote “Wit and the Unconscious” early in his career. This book is considered to be Freud’s most significant contribution to the theory of wit, which is, by extension, the theory of art.

    In this book Freud “affirms the connection between art and the pleasure-principle…he also affirms the connection between art and childishness; however childishness is not a reproach, but the ideal kingdom of pleasure which art knows how to recover…with scant effort…Play on words—the technique of wit—is recovered when thought is allowed to sink into the unconscious…Freud’s analysis of wit invites extension to the whole domain of art.”

    Psychoanalysis is about the nature of repression; the essential characteristic of the human psyche.

    There is a constant conflict between the conscious and the unconscious. Societies repress the individual and the individual represses the self.

    Neurotic behavior, dreams, and various “Freudian slips” provide us with e-mails from the unconscious that elude the conscious repression mechanism. These behavior characteristics are meaningful because they manifest the purpose of the unconscious that remains hidden from consciousness.

    The conscious mind strenuously disowns and resists the rumblings of the unconscious. The conscious self disowns and resists its human nature.

    Neurosis is the label given to these human phenomena of conflict between the conscious and unconscious self. All of us are neurotic to one degree or another. When this neurosis interferes with ‘normal’ human behavior then, and only then, does it require outside interference by society.

    Universal neurosis is the analogy of “original sin” for theological doctrine.

    In “Life against Death” Norman Brown develops, with the help of Freudian theory, a theory of art. There are no paradigms in art; the psychoanalytic themes in art offer a perspective in the doctrine of “there is no single meaning to any work of art”.

    Questions for discussion

    Do you find difficulty in comprehending wit as a form of art?

    Is wit as powerful as Seinfeld surmised?

    Is this power of wit as surprising to you as it was to me?
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  3. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

    It's why, at one point half the comedians working in America were Canadians(the country is sooo laughable sometimes), the other 49% African/Jewish decent and the other 1% - Robin Williams.

    Take the (ancient) example of laconic wit. A necessary verbal invention of a very tough society(Sparta).

    Wit is powerful now as it was in ancient Greece and perhaps even moreso. People are more free to say nearly anything they want (particularly minorites you have ommitted this from you're otherwise excellent post). The sarcastic remark can be seen more scathing than a punch to the face(which is simply shocking and loses power for the offender).
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  5. Grantywanty Registered Senior Member

    Number 2

    Not in Seinfeild's hands, unfortunately. He can be funny but he runs a middle road, clever rather than deeply insightful.

    Richard Pryor stand up just popped into my mind, that shook things up, and first in mind when thinking of that were the different approaches to living between white and blacks (and with a nod to lakoff and friend, it had a lot to do with bodies and how they move and express in space).
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  7. Oniw17 ascetic, sage, diogenes, bum? Valued Senior Member

    Wit is what makes comedians funny, so yes.
  8. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Comedians have the liberty to tell the truth about anything they choose.

    Thats why every king had a court jester.
  9. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

    Wit is what separates the truly thoughtful from the merely pedestrian.
  10. nicholas1M7 Banned Banned


    Chew on that bitch.
  11. nicholas1M7 Banned Banned


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