In the perfect caricature. Taking dark topics and making

In Sigmund Freud’s essay on; ‘Jokes
and Their Relation to the Unconscious’, (1905), Freud gives a detailed
explanation of what he notices to be different methods used in creating jokes.
He believes that joking is a form of release for suppressed aggressions. He
brings up pre-existing ideas from other famous names such as; the philosophers
Theodor Vischer, Kuno Fischer and Theodor Lipps who had interesting views on
the subject of jokes. Lipps was one of the main supporters of the unconscious,
he believed that each state of consciousness has different levels and that laughter
has buried negative traits and Fischer believed jokes to be part of our playful
nature as humans. These authors suggested that jokes are used to bring topics
thought to be taboo in society into the open.

“Fischer (über den witz, 1889)
illustrates the relation of jokes to the comic with the help of caricature,
which in his account he places between them. The comic is concerned with ugly
in one of its manifestations: ‘if it what I ugly is concealed, it must be
uncovered in the light of the comic way of looking at things; if it is noticed
only a little or scarcely at all, it must be brought forward and made obvious,
so that it lies clear and open to the light of day… In this way caricature comes
about’.” – Sigmund Freud,
(1905), ‘Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious’.

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The ugly must be brought forward as a caricature to shed light on it; the
Insecurities of society can hold the perfect caricature. Taking dark topics and
making something humorous out of it. Fischer suggests the object is concealed
ugliness of the world of thoughts.  

 “A favourite definition of joking has long
been the ability to find similarity between dissimilar things – that is, hidden
similarities” – Sigmund Freud,
(1905), ‘Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious’.

This is how word play and puns or the general construction of a joke
works, through modification and word fusion. Thinking into something that isn’t usually matched up with another
obscure topic and marrying them together in the form of a joke. Emil Kraepelin
(German Psychiatrist) (1885) also shares this similar explanation;

“Definitions such as that of Kraepelin lay stress on contrasting ideas.
A joke is, ‘the arbitrary connecting or linking, usually by means of a verbal
association, of two ideas which in some way contrast with each other'” – Sigmund Freud, (1905), ‘Jokes and Their
Relation to the Unconscious’.

This similar description in the structure of a joke is also used in other
publications when it comes to learning joke writing;

“Meaningless construction that
unites two ideas or concepts that have nothing in common other than the fact
that they share or have been allocated the same or similar sounding words …
word-play or witticism however unites and often adds to the understanding of
one or even both words.” – Tony
Allen, (2002), ‘Wanna make something of it?’.

In Sigmund Freud’s later essay ‘Der
Humor’ written in 1927, he addresses the topic of sick jokes. Freud argues how
sick jokes are used as a coping mechanism. For some people it is a natural
reaction to joke during suffering or after a traumatic event, it’s a way for
most of us relieve the stress of the situation. Not letting a situation get the
better of you. It can be considered ‘sick’ to joke about something traumatic or
disturbing, but with natural disasters and terror attacks being broadcast to us
frequently and us not having the power to do anything about it the only way out
seems to be to crack a joke.

“The ego refuses to be distressed by the provocations of reality, to
let itself be compelled to suffer. It insists that it cannot be affected by the
traumas of the external world; it shows, in fact, that such traumas are no more
than occasions for it to gain pleasure.” – Sigmund Freud, (1927), ‘Der
Humor’.

This outlook on trauma and
tragedy to some people comes across as insensitive as the quote from Dr Linda
Papadopoulos would suggest;

“Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos worries that sick humour’s
popularity is symptomatic of an unhealthy culture which has been desensitised
to the suffering of others. ‘One of the reasons we laugh at tragedy is that it
makes the enormity of the issue easier to deal with,’ she concedes.” – Dr Linda
Papadopoulos (2011) ‘BBC News Magazine’.

But from my research I just
believe that humour is our safety blanket to ease life’s awkward or serious
mishaps, through the use of jokes we can weaken life’s biggest blows. Once we
find laughter, whatever the situation maybe gets a hell of a lot easier to
survive. There’s nothing that humour can’t touch, it’s limitless no matter how
much one may dislike it, the quicker we accept it the more at peace we will be.
Approaching offensive subjects with this outlook can be a very effective tool
of satire as well as a form of therapy.