Socially Critical Humor : Discussing Humor with Erich Fromm and Theodor W. Adorno
Hietalahti, J. (2017). Socially Critical Humor : Discussing Humor with Erich Fromm and Theodor W. Adorno. Idéias, 8 (1), 87-108. doi:10.20396/ideias.v8i1.8649776
© Hietalahti, 2017. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of a Creative Commons License.
This article brings Erich Fromm and Theodor W. Adorno back into dialogue by discussing the cultural phenomena of humor and laughter based on their theoretical writings. I argue that what is typically considered socially critical humor, like off ensive jokes or harsh satire, often fails to meet the preconditions of criticism in the light of Adorno’s and Fromm’s thinking. Humor, to be socially critical, has to be life-affi rmative and non-positional, and it has to challenge the limits of humor. It is also claimed that in this scope, humor cannot be instrumental.