Humor and the Dobe Ju/'Hoansi

In Appendix A, Lee provided insights of his personal experience on the Dobe Ju/‘hoansi’s use of humor. The culture of joking by insulting their peers is a prominent feature of the Dobe Ju/‘hoansi as it helps them to humble their peers and used as a social leveler to prevent arrogance within the self, especially the younger ones. Laughing at one another allows people to downplay the achievements of the self and heightens the importance of the community. This is essential to the survival of the small Dobe Ju/‘hoansi community as it reinforces the importance of humility in order to prevent conflicts which will easily affect the stability of the community.

Reflecting upon our own society, we can raise a few questions. Is humor a universal condition which all human being’s share? What makes humans laugh or appreciate humor? Or is it merely a social construct?

Humor is a universal condition in which all human beings share. However, the types of humor people enjoy is largely dependent on the socio-cultural environment the individual is in. Different people will respond differently to different types of humor. This is due to the different socialization processes that people undergo. For example, in the case of black humor, a type of humor marked by the use of morbid, ironic or grotesquely comic episodes that ridicule human folly. Not everyone appreciates black humor, some people will be offended by it. This shows that what might crack someone up might not have the same effect on another person due to the difference in socialization processes. Yet, laughing seems to be a universal phenomenon which all humans can experience.

Here are a few examples of humor, in the form of comedy which might crack you up. (Disclaimer, some may find the following videos offensive, if it does, it shows that what might be funny to some, may be offensive to others)

Black Humor

Puns: I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

What do you think is funny, inappropriate or just plain bad? Although what we find funny is highly dependent on the socio-cultural influences, humor is an intrinsic aspect of the human condition due to our ability to create meanings out of ideas. That is why culture, largely influences our comedic preferences.

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