The consolations of humor

Elliott Oring

Abstract


This examination of the corpus of anecdotes about the Mormon missionary J. Gordon Kimball (1953-1938), is used to point out, first, that there seem to be no substantive grounds for imputing aggressive motives to their tellers or their audiences. In fact, the central character of this corpus of anecdotes was a much beloved figure in his lifetime, and the character is still regarded with affection by many who only know him through the anecdotes The second point is that these jokes might offer compensations, but compensations unrelated to the release of and relief from libidinal forces. They rather can be understood in a way so that they may offer compensations of a different kind—the consolations of a philosophy.


Keywords


jokes, aggresssion, appropriate incongruity, Mormon, folklore

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7592/EJHR2017.5.4.oring

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