Sense of Humor

People always ask me why I say I don’t have a sense of humor. I make good jokes but I can never figure out when people try to be funny or what the humorous part of their utterances is supposed to be.

Take, for example, the linked article. I did manage to figure out that the author is trying to be funny. But I don’t understand why the persona of a beaten down infantile husband of a stupid, bossy wife who is pathetically afraid of what the neighbors might think of his reading choices is supposed to be funny. If this were published on a website for seventh graders, I could understand how the title “Phenomenology of Spirit” might sound funny. But what’s so hilarious about it on a website for academics?

I feel as excluded from the human race when I read such articles as when I dropped my phone and couldn’t take any selfies for 2 months.

4 thoughts on “Sense of Humor”

  1. I think you’re totally misreading the article. The author doesn’t see himself as “beaten down” or “infantile” — he sees himself as smugly superior intellectually to the clueless neighbors and other peasants who will see the book titles, but be too dumb to possibly understand what those books are about.


    1. Oh. OK, I didn’t get that at all. I’m telling you, I see an infantile man and I get so enraged that I don’t notice anything else. It’s cultural.


  2. You’re right to find the link unfunny (and I’m not sure how I’ll ever forgive you for linking to it since I would have remained blissfully unaware of it otherwise….)

    But among other things, it’s trying to plug into an old vein of American humor, an impractical head-in-the-clouds person balanced by a practical spouse. The husband isn’t meant to be read as infantile, just a little …. detached from everyday life.

    It goes at least back to radio with sit-coms like Fibber McGee and Molly (he’s impractical and foolish while she’s skeptical and grounded in reality) and early tv sitcoms like I love Lucy or the George Burns Show (ditzy wives with practical husbands). The Simpsons and Family Guy go back to silly husbands with more practical wives.

    You can find it in British humor too (though not as strongly I think) but I think it’s not that common in non-anglophone countries.


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