Portfolio Exercise 2

Richard Bernstein, in his article, talks about the role of mockery in TV and performance arts. He claims that mockery is perceived in different ways in the media depending on the content and who is performing the mockery; he argues that if the mockery is directed towards oppressed groups then it encounters more resistance from the crows but if the mockery concerns superior and more powerful individuals then it is tolerated more by the audience. Moreover, he says that while some figures’ mockery such as Eddie Murphy’s towards homosexuals don’ t draw much criticism, the same sort of mockery done by Andy Rooney is heavily criticized by the society and this creates an inconsistency. Bernstein goes onto explain a dilemma in the mockery we see in media; he states that after the 60s society decided to be more respectful of differences in general and started to use politically correct language;however, the same society now sometimes wants to see the frowned upon lampooning of certain groups in stand up and/or TV to break the taboos. Here though,the context and where the mockery is done are quite important according to Bernstein: when the content gets more realistic and the place of mockery becomes more formal, the mockery receives more negative criticism from differerent circles. While building these arguments, Bernstein uses the specific shows of comedians and the reactions they get from their audiences. Overall, Bernstein argues that mockery has a safe zone in the entertainment field as long as comedians choose their content wisely.

Responding to a point in the text
Bernstein asserts that mockery receives more negative criticism if it is directed to repressed and discriminated groups. This becomes apparent in the lines: “You can’t make fun of anybody who has a sense of being excluded”. His reasoning and argument are valid in this case; in the society, making fun of successful and popular people is always more acceptable than making fun of weak, bullied, and ostracized individuals.

Portfolio Exercise 1: Summary

In today’s class, we discussed 3 different theories of laughter.

Superiority theory of laughter, which is for example when you laugh at the reactions or expressions of little kids and babies, or when you laugh at someone who falls down in public when walking on the street.

Incongruity theory of laughter which is to laugh at what is unexpected and what is odd. For example a drawing, that was projected on the wall on valentines day on 14th street, of Trump, pregnant with Putin’s baby. It is unexpected and odd indeed, and it’s funny.

Relief theory which is when people laugh because they sense stress. Giving an example from my life, back in high school, I always used to witness some students in my class arguing with the professor impolitely. As soon as I recognized tension between the student and the teacher I would start laughing to distract people from the tension I thought they were feeling either. It would make me feel very relieved, as my friends would join me while I laughed.