The political exploitation of the clown figure in traditional and popular theater in Asia

The political exploitation of the clown figure in traditional and popular theater in Asia In humor the mechanisms may be universal, but this is not to imply that humor is understood cross-culturally. Its exclusive nature lies in playing with the self-evident being determined by the specific cultural context. In many societies joking is a clown's breadwinning, either in soloperformances or äs pari ofany type oftheatrical art. In view oftheir relative freedom in openly criticizing society, clowns have been recruited, particularly in Asia, äs mouthpieces for government Propaganda, for example on birth control. Their jesting was meant to motivate the population for modernization. It turned out that this seriously hampered the freedom of the clown. It was evident to the audience that the clown couldno longer play his subtle games in selling his jokes and gags. He turned to earnestness and superficiality. In practicing the apparently universal mechanisms of comedy, the clown lost sight of the societal context ofhis audience. Humor and fools: playing with the self-evident Humor means playing with the self-evident, and unsettling it, which sheds a surprising light on things. The general mechanism of a joke is to make a creative comparison out of two non-coherent elements. This is really the principle underlying all metaphor, äs the comparison between a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png HUMOR de Gruyter

The political exploitation of the clown figure in traditional and popular theater in Asia

HUMOR, Volume 6 (3) – Jan 1, 1993

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 1993 by the
ISSN
0933-1719
eISSN
1613-3722
DOI
10.1515/humr.1993.6.3.271
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In humor the mechanisms may be universal, but this is not to imply that humor is understood cross-culturally. Its exclusive nature lies in playing with the self-evident being determined by the specific cultural context. In many societies joking is a clown's breadwinning, either in soloperformances or äs pari ofany type oftheatrical art. In view oftheir relative freedom in openly criticizing society, clowns have been recruited, particularly in Asia, äs mouthpieces for government Propaganda, for example on birth control. Their jesting was meant to motivate the population for modernization. It turned out that this seriously hampered the freedom of the clown. It was evident to the audience that the clown couldno longer play his subtle games in selling his jokes and gags. He turned to earnestness and superficiality. In practicing the apparently universal mechanisms of comedy, the clown lost sight of the societal context ofhis audience. Humor and fools: playing with the self-evident Humor means playing with the self-evident, and unsettling it, which sheds a surprising light on things. The general mechanism of a joke is to make a creative comparison out of two non-coherent elements. This is really the principle underlying all metaphor, äs the comparison between a

Journal

HUMORde Gruyter

Published: Jan 1, 1993

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