The European Journal of Humour Research

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ISSN / EISSN : 2307-700X / 2307-700X
Total articles ≅ 244
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Latest articles in this journal

Fedor Shcherbakov
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 63-73; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.2.476

Abstract:
Since the very beginning of its proliferation, the Homeric epic has been subject to various ways of interpretation and modes of understanding. Particular attention has been paid to those passages from Homeric poems in which the gods commit obscene, absurd, or comical actions. In the opinion of critics of Iliad and Odyssey, such myths were not worthy of the appropriate faith in the Greek gods. Therefore, my article focuses on the third, “comical” group of these Homeric grey areas, and deals with the following questions: how and why did Homer’s comical passages move from a discourse of the ridiculous and the funny to a discourse of the serious by means of philosophical interpretation over the centuries? I will try to uncover the general principles and conditions of that hermeneutical mechanism which made it possible to translate Homer’s comical plots from the language of Olympic “domestic” nonsense into the language of the most important physical, ethical, and metaphysical truths. To achieve this task, my article will conditionally distinguish two ways of transition from the comical to the serious: the first, which was carried out in ancient allegorism, was to directly produce a translation, and to declare that the “superficial” meaning of the myth is false, and its deep level is true. The second way – ancient symbolism – was to turn the comical into the serious through the immediate translation of comical myths into the religious discourse of the sacred, which did not imply a stark contrast between the comical and the serious but, on the contrary, harmonized them.
Daniil Rivin, Olga Shcherbakova
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 112-131; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.2.456

Abstract:
This study aimed to test a hypothesis about the correlation between levels of gelotophobia, gelotophilia, and katagelasticism and understanding of Internet memes as a specific form of humour. Participants were 45 native speakers of Russian (aged 18 – 30; 73,3 % female). The levels of Internet memes understanding were assessed independently by two judges with the use of criteria based on the results of a series of semi-structured in-depth interviews. Gelotophobia, gelotophilia, and katagelasticism were assessed with PhoPhiKat questionnaire. J. Raven’s “Standard Progressive Matrices” test was used to control the level of psychometric intelligence. Concordance of judges’ scores for the understanding of memes was assessed with Kendall’s W and ranged from 0.71 to 0.84. Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient was used to test the main hypothesis. We found no correlation between the scores for gelotophobia, gelotophilia, and katagelasticism and understanding of Internet memes. Presumably, the type of attitude towards humour does not play a significant role in the understanding of comical texts. The qualitative content analysis of the interview protocols revealed some specific features of cognitive mechanisms of Internet memes understanding. Namely, successful participants with higher levels of understanding of Internet memes reflected more on their thinking process than those with lower levels of understanding of Internet memes, easily switched from an abstract level of reasoning to a concrete one, and tended to consistently develop detailed mental representations of the memes.
Marina Borodenko, Vadim Petrovsky
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 7-25; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.2.553

Abstract:
A semiology-based approach to understanding humour is being developed and an interpretation of humour as a “counter-sign,” a two-faced sign within the space of conventionality, is put forward. The range of core attributes to interpret the phenomenon of humour is determined. The concepts of the “frame of significance,” “conventionality,” and “meta-communicative marker of conventionality” are elaborated. The general definition of humour is being formulated as a “sign-based identification of non-identifiable signs within the space of conventionality.” An outline is put forward to enable the formal distinction between satire, humour, irony, and jokes. The following questions are addressed: “Why does that which is funny cease to be so if it is repeated many times?”, “Why can the terrifying become funny when recollected?” “Why is the state of bewilderment not always funny but returning to it in one’s thoughts triggers laughter?”
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 141-153; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.2.439

Abstract:
Gelotophobia, or the fear of being laughed at, has been described as an inability to enjoy humour and laughter in social interaction. A number of studies have shown its increased levels under various mental disorders. Gelotophobia in psychiatric patients may appear either as a primary syndrome, or as a secondary disorder connected to the patient’s reaction to their social position (self-stigmatization). In turn, self-stigmatization is closely related to the personality of the patient and, in particular, to their attitudes to illness. Since the fear of being laughed at has been studied within both the clinical concept and the continual model of individual differences, the question of differentiation between normal and pathological fear of being laughed at is topical, while borderline groups are of particular interest. The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between gelotophobia, attitudes to illness, and self-stigmatization in patients with minor, non-psychotic mental disorders, as well as those with brain injuries, who also had mild mental disorders, without having the status of psychiatric patients. The sample consisted of 73 patients with non-psychotic mental disorders, and 30 patients with brain injuries. The methods used included PhoPhiKat-30, ISMI-9 (Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness Inventory), and TOBOL (Types of the Attitudes to Disease). The results revealed at least a slight level of gelotophobia in 31% patients with non-psychotic mental disorders, and 20% in those with brain injuries. Gelotophobia correlated with certain types of attitude to illness in each group. Subjects displaying high levels of gelotophobia were in general characterized by disadvantageous attitudes to illness. In the group of psychiatric patients, gelotophobia was associated with self-stigmatization, whereas in the group of neurological patients it was not. Thus, in this study gelotophobia was examined for the first time in patients with non-psychotic mental disorders, as well as in those with brain injuries. Different mechanisms of gelotophobia development were suggested for the two groups.
Sergey Troitskiy
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 92-111; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.2.517

Abstract:
This article arose from the scandal which broke out in Russia in 2018, when Ulyanovsk cadets made an amateur video clip parodying the Benny Benassi’s musical video (2003). Soon, this video had more than a million views. But official Russian media sharply reproached the cadets’ performance, and even Russian authorities discussed the video. The Russian Internet community issued a lot of videos in support of the cadets. The reaction of Russian media on the cadets’ parody was mainly strong and not always adequate. I am interested in the reasons behind the fear of parody because, in my opinion, the official discourse had nothing to fear. My analysis is based on the Russian theories of parody and the medieval cultural experience. Can parody be dangerous? Why did the official media overreact?
Maksim Prikhodko
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 52-62; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.2.497

Abstract:
In the article we investigate the Christian – pagan polemic of Origen's treatise “Contra Celsum” in fragment 7.53-58, where the problem of the correlation of irony and heroism reveals the contrast between false and true deeds, for which divine honours are given. The irony that Celsus uses to attack Christians serves as a kind of “divide” that marks a contrast between pagan ideas about heroism, as a principle of deification of people, and the principles on which, from Celsus’ point of view of, Christians consider Jesus to be God. A special subject of the article is Celsus’ reflection on the ironic motive of the Book of Jonah, the story of the gourd (Jonah 4, 5-11), and the salvation of the prophet Daniel from the lion's den (Dan. 6, 16-23). Origen’s response to Celsus’ speech shows a certain similarity to the text of a pagan author in structural, stylistic and lexical aspects. Such factor reveals a rhetorical content of the response of Origen. In the field of rhetorica, Origen uses irony against his opponent: pagan heroes and philosophers now appear funny or not serious enough, whereas the Old Testament prophets are revealed as genuinely great and as a source of miracles. In light of this, Origen’s response to Celsus replaces Celsus’ ironic allusion to the gourd story from the fourth chapter of the Book of Jonah with the first verse of the second chapter, which opens the episode of Jonah’s stay in the belly of the whale. An analysis of this substitution, based on the hermeneutic principles of Origen, shows the role of Biblical irony as a specific aspect of the spiritual meaning of the sacred text. It is hypothesized that the essence of this specificity is the creation of a contrast that sets any feat of any person in the light of the historical life of Jesus Christ, who completely and exceptionally realized God's providence. This reveals a pattern or principle of going beyond the limits of human virtue to the sphere of divine being. To compare any feats with the earthly life and the death of the Saviour renders the opposition of ironic and heroic no longer a contrast between false and true: any heroism, even the exploits of the Old Testament prophets, becomes ironic / ridiculous. Thus Origen’s Christian irony is not only an instrument of rhetorical discourse, but a philosophical and literary device that allows transcending, or elevating to an unattainable level, the heroism of the life and death of the Saviour.
Sergey Troitskiy, Aleksandr Lavrentev, Alyona Ivanova, Liisi Laineste
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 1-6; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.2.653

Abstract:
The editorial article for the special issue of EJHR “Laughter and Humour in Communication” provides an overview of all the presented articles and highlights the general idea of the issue.
Maria Semikolennykh
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 74-91; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.2.480

Abstract:
George of Trebizond (1395-1472) has spent a significant part of his life translating Greek books into Latin. The bulk of his translations is impressive: from Ptolemy’s Almagest to John Chrysostom’s homilies and works by Cyril of Alexandria, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Aristotle. He was quite an experienced translator, who had worked out an elaborated method explained in several writings. At the height of his career, George rather hastily translated Plato’s Laws. The haste and, probably, George’s bias against Plato and Platonism resulted in numerous inaccuracies of translation. Several years later, Basilios Bessarion closely scrutinized these faults in the fifth book of his In Calumniatorem Platonis, a comprehensive work aiming to refute the arguments set out in George of Trebizond’s anti-Platonic treatise Comparatio Philosophorum Aristotelis et Platonis. The paper analyses the use of such rhetorical devices as sarcasm and irony in Bessarion’s In Calumniatorem Platonis and especially in his commentary on George’s translation of Laws; it also aims to demonstrate how Bessarion turns George of Trebizond into a comic figure, thus compromising both the opponent and his interpretation of Plato’s doctrine.
Jarno Hietalahti
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 154-171; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.2.443

Abstract:
This article will analyse the preconditions of sense of humour for artificial intelligence. Can artificial intelligence have a sense of humour? Is there a difference between human and machine laughter? Some machines already fulfil certain conditions which are associated with the human sense of humour: on the most superficial level machines appear to laugh and produce jokes, and they recognize sarcasm and punchlines, and they can evaluate funniness. In short, artificial intelligence is already able to recognize humour, and reacts to it accordingly. Furthermore, people laugh with humorous machines. However, it is still uncertain whether artificial intelligence can have a sense of humour or not, at least in comparison to a human sense of humour. To build bridges between AI research and philosophy of humour, this article proposes that there are (at least) five notable philosophical issues to be addressed if we are to accept that machines can have a (humanlike) sense of humour. These principles are: 1) worldview, 2) self-consciousness, 3) self-reflection, 4) self-criticism, and 5) losing control.
Daria Vasileva
The European Journal of Humour Research, Volume 9, pp 132-140; https://doi.org/10.7592/ejhr2021.9.2.474

Abstract:
Fifty people compiled diaries in which they described the sounds of their daily life in cities around the world. Of the 940 hours of observation there were 200 entries that referred to sounds of laughter, both live and recorded. The participants of the research always identified laughter sounds explicitly, unlike other urban sounds. The sound of laughter has a powerful cultural-symbolic superstructure. Learning how we use laughter, what we hear and how we react when someone laughs can help us to understand the key processes taking place in the urban space today. Laughter can at once attract and repel, signal danger and relieve social tension. It can lead equally to social agents’ inclusion and exclusion in the situation of interaction, and can largely determine the form and extent of their inclusion. A citizen’s interpretation of the sound of laughter depends directly on the media technologies which predominate in the urban environment and channel their cultural experience and sonic imagination.
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