Take the Jester?


Humour as our Guide to Meaning

If we are to use humour as our guide to the contours of human meaning, we have to know something about how its agent, the joke, operates. For example, what is it that the joke does to these ‘contour lines of meaning’ that we have already referred to? Are they perhaps being exaggerated? Or is their direction being reversed? Or are they being extended into places where they don’t belong? Because only by knowing how jokes are twisting the logic of human meaning can we safely arrive at a true picture of this logic. In short, it seems that we need to crack the secret code of the joke before we can use humour to chart the landscape of meaning inside our heads. In particular, we pose three major questions.


1) Do All Jokes Have the Same Attack Pattern?

2) Why is the Pun the Worst Place to Begin an Analysis of Humour?

3) What is the Secret Code of the Joke?