Laughter an essay on the meaning of the comic summary

Such is certainly the case with the work of Simone Giertz, who presents on YouTube and elsewhere Giertz her nutty, do-it-yourself robotic creations. A prime example is the robot that serves breakfast Giertz Very approximate both in form it seems to be held together with tape and action the cereal is poured beside the bowl instead of in it, as is the milk , the articulated arm moves in a way that is seemingly deliberate it identifies the objects to be manipulated, and makes appropriate gripping and tilting motions , but ultimately abrupt and clumsy the spoon is not dipped quite low enough to actually reach into the bowl and so arrives empty, and only in the general vicinity of the mouth of the inventor, who must therefore stretch her head awkwardly to the side to meet it.

The humor of the situation—a technically advanced object which is in fact pathetically inept—is further heightened by the apparent aplomb of its inventor, who continues throughout to read a book without glancing up from it. A similar stoicism is exploited in the video of a makeup machine that scribbles lipstick all over her face; and again, we must be reminded, albeit now it in robotic form, of the machines conceived of in the last century by Jean Tinguely. In the same vein, My little piece of privacy by Niklas Roy Roy centers on a curtain installed in a storefront window, and meant to prevent the occasional sidewalk passerby from looking in.

It is much too small for the job, however—reminding one of the tiny handkerchiefs behind which exotic dancers pretend to hide their dainties—and so must be robotically shuttled back and forth along its curtain rod this in fact accomplished with a quite sophisticated system consisting of a surveillance camera, computer, and servo drive mechanism in order to attempt to continuously block the view of said occasional pedestrians as they pass in front of the window.

The behavior of the curtain, in turn, evokes a reaction from them, who notice that its movement follows theirs.

The interaction sometimes becomes playful, with the goal of the game being to move faster than the curtain, or to find strategies which will trip it up. Once again, there is a disparity: on the one hand, between a task calling for subtlety and discretion, and, on the other, the mechanical system to which it has been assigned.

The curtain thus sometimes ends up being jerked back and forth in a frantic and hilarious manner—and we are thus reminded of the crucial connection that Bergson has made between mechanical rigidity and the comic [italics mine]: Consequently, it is not his sudden change of attitude that raises a laugh, but rather the involuntary element in this change—his clumsiness, in fact.

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Perhaps there was a stone on the road. He should have altered his pace or avoided the obstacle. Instead of that, through lack of elasticity, through absentmindedness and a kind of physical obstinacy, as a result, in fact, of rigidity or of momentum, the muscles continued to perform the same movement when the circumstances of the case called for something else.

The literary realm, likewise, has its examples of algorithmic subversion, and these are clearly Oulipian in spirit. Campus Cyber!

Did laughter make the mind?

Campus , an automatic generator of random sentences, hollow phrases, and other gibberish which, at the end of a long day, one might use to plump up the introduction or conclusion of a serious report. Comic and ironic at the same time, the Pipotron produces results not unlike those of a certain all-knowing politician; and here again, the humor stems from the rigid and wooden quality of phrases that do fit into the discourse. More recently, director Oscar Sharp has given us his Sunspring Sharp , a short science-fiction film whose dialogue was automatically generated by an AI program of the type originally designed to predict, for example, what word one is attempting to type when sending a text message—but trained instead on the scripts of dozens of science fiction films.

A movie so generated will of necessity remain utterly directionless and incoherent, and without depth and meaning; but the viewer is nonetheless surprised by some improbable effects. In the first place, one is shocked to discover the extent to which properly formatted but ultimately nonsensical language can arouse in us an anticipation of meaning; but one is also shocked to realize that we have become almost accustomed to such language via the formulaic speech of advertising and politics.

Indeed, we are all but startled to discover that our own understanding has perhaps been in an automatic mode as well. In keeping with our theme, furthermore, this surprise ultimately turns into laughter—i.

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From their derision are born unstable images apt to trigger reflections on the meaning of existence. Matt Copson , Transcend and Die , Rich, Felicia Chen, Kerry Doran. Out Of Order. Feminist Avant-Garde of the s.

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Comedy Has Issues | Critical Inquiry: Vol 43, No 2

Jesse Darling , Brazen Serpent 2, Bowl of Hygieia , Steel, aluminum mobility cane, rubber ferrule, lacquer, wood, Show All. Beethoven — World. I have the strongest suspicions that the tendency which he has brought to a focus, will end by prevailing, and that the present epoch will be a sort of turning point in the history of philosophy. Comparisons are often made between the philosophies of Bergson and James due to the similarities in their work. For example, both thinkers rejected rationalism and materialism in favor of an interpretation of reality as transpiring in a temporal flux.

As Jean Wahl described, the "ultimate disagreement" between James and Bergson: "for James, the consideration of action is necessary for the definition of truth, according to Bergson, action…must be kept from our mind if we want to see the truth. Bergson visited the United States in , where he lectured in several American cities and was welcomed by large audiences.

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In , Bergson completed his final major work, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion Les deux sources de la morale et de la religion. Here he extended his philosophical theories to the realms of morality, religion, and art. Although the work was respectfully received by the public and philosophical community, Bergson's influence had by this time begun to fade. He was, however, able to give force to his core beliefs near the end of his life when he renounced all the posts and honors previously received rather than accept exemption from the anti-Semitic laws imposed by the Vichy government.

Bergson died on January 4, The first is a scientific materialism which views all reality as being controlled or determined by mechanical laws or necessities. This view was prominent in the philosophical milieu of the late nineteenth century, in which Bergson had been educated. On the other hand, Bergson also argued against a kind of rationalism which reduced all becoming to static natures or essences that are known through intellect.

Such a reduction was common within the entire history of philosophy understood as metaphysics. In contrast, Bergson held to the irreducible flux of becoming. But duration as the ultimate reality does merely encompass individual selves, it also envelopes or runs through all things. For this reason everything changes; everything is in movement.

And yet, as mentioned above, this change is neither random nor mechanistic. Rather freedom itself is a fundamental component within duration. Here we see how Bergson sought to go beyond a Darwinian conception of evolution to a creative one, hence, the title of his major work Creative Evolution. It is the original dynamism or animating energy of the universe which is always in a flow of becoming and yet, at the same time, creative. Although Bergson acknowledges that the evolutionary process is limited by material forces, freedom nonetheless provides the possibility for new orders and structures to emerge or evolve within this ceaseless flux.

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Given that absolute reality is a duration or flow one is most attuned to, this flow not in one's thought which halts or stops this irreducible flux but in actions in which one participates in and so move along with this flow. All theoretical knowing, therefore, is founded on a more primordial or original practical attitude of the knower to what is known.

In this way, one builds up or constructs a unity out of the parts which one has gathered or perceived. This knowledge can be very useful in practical affairs but it should not be confused with the ultimate reality itself, as if one were really knowing the things in themselves. Rather this unity of parts belongs to the symbol as opposed to the ultimate reality which has no parts. This capacity of intellectual knowing Bergson attributes to analysis.