Laughing Matters ( A Longman Topics Reader)
©2009 |Pearson | Available
©2009 |Pearson | Available
Laughing Matters showcases how a range of contemporary writers including Jon Stewart and David Sedaris craft persuasive arguments, using humor to make their case while entertaining the reader.
Many cultural commentators note that we live in an age of comedy. Staples of comic rhetoric–irony, sarcasm, and various forms of lampoon and caricature–have become dominant forms of public discourse, readily available through both traditional print forms and the electronic medis that drive public culture. Contemporary comedy helps define public issues and delivers critical perspectives on courses of action, judgments on the morality and effectiveness of policy decisions, and praise and blame for elected leaders. Given this cultural moment, a guide to analyzing how comic arguments are made–and to crafting such arguments using the rhetorical strategies particular to comedy–seems timely.
Chapter One: How Comedy Works
Henri Bergson, excerpt from Laughter
Murray Davis, excerpt from What’s So Funny
Jimmy Carr and Lucy Greeves, “Tickling the Naked Ape: The Science of Laughter”
Robin Hemley, “Relaxing the Rules of Reason”
Chapter Two: The Cultural Role of Comedy
Elizabeth Kolbert, “Stooping to Conquer: Why Candidates Need to Make Fun of Themselves”
J. Michael Waller, “Ridicule: An Instrument in the War on Terrorism”
Daniel Harris, “Light-Bulb Jokes: Charting an Era”
J. David Stevens, “The Joke”
Vicki Hearne, “Can an Ape Tell a Joke?”
Chapter Three: Modest and Immodest Proposals (deliberative rhetoric)
Jonathan Swift, “A Modest Proposal”
Jane Austen, Mr. Collins’ Proposal from Pride and Prejudice
Joseph Addison, “On Giving Advice”
Oscar Wilde, “Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young”
Scott Adams, “Surviving Meetings”
Molly Ivins, “The Lung-Impaired Liberation Movement”
Chapter Four: Making the Case with Comedy (forensic rhetoric)
Benjamin Franklin, “’What are the Poor Young Women to Do?’ The Speech of Polly Baker”
Anton Chekhov, “A Malefactor”
Ian Frazier, “Coyote v. Acme”
Jim Stallard, “No Justice, No Foul”
Ian Frazier, “Laws Concerning Food and Drink; Household Principles; Lamentations of the Father”
Madeleine Begun Kane, “A Pre-Musical Agreement”
Chris Harris, “Why Are Kids So Dumb? A Defense”
Chapter Five: Comic Celebrations and Attacks (ceremonial rhetoric)
Mark Twain, Toast to The Babies
Mark Twain, “Concerning Tobacco”
Anton Chekhov, “The Orator”
Lewis Thomas, “Notes on Punctuation”
Laurie Anderson, “Dazed and Bemused”
Anne Lamott, “Why I Don’t Meditate”
Chapter Six: Observations on Gender (ceremonial rhetoric too)
H. L. Mencken, from In Defense of Women
Helen Rowland, “Reflections of a Bachelor Girl”
Regina Barreca and Gene Weingarten, “The Joys of Sexism (Part I–Jokes that Offend Women,” and “The Joys of Sexism (Part II–Jokes that Castrate Men)”
Bill Cosby, “Till Talk Do You Part”
Susan Allen Toth, “Going to the Movies”
Emily Hiestand, “Neon Effects”
Marcia Aldrich, “Hair”
Chapter Seven: Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Comedy
Ambrose Bierce, from The Devil’s Dictionary
Joseph Dennie, “Jack and Gill: A Scholarly Commentary”
Benjamin Franklin, “On Perfumes”
Jon Stewart, “The Last Supper, or The Dead Waiter”
Louis Phillips, “Aristotle’s ‘On Baseball’”
Dave Barry “What Is and Ain’t Grammatical”
Paul Davidson, “http://abbottandcostello.com/blog/
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