The Last Laugh: Folk Humor, Celebrity Culture, and Mass-Mediated Disasters in the Digital Age (Folklore Studies in a Multicultural World)De (autor) Trevor J. Blank
en Limba Engleză Paperback – 26 Aug 2013
Widely publicized in mass media worldwide, high-profile tragedies and celebrity scandals—the untimely deaths of Michael Jackson and Princess Diana, the embarrassing affairs of Tiger Woods and President Clinton, the 9/11 attacks or the Challenger space shuttle explosion—often provoke nervous laughter and black humor. If in the past this snarky folklore may have been shared among friends and uttered behind closed doors, today the Internet's ubiquity and instant interactivity propels such humor across a much more extensive and digitally mediated discursive space. New media not only let more people "in on the joke," but they have also become the "go-to" formats for engaging in symbolic interaction, especially in times of anxiety or emotional suppression, by providing users an expansive forum for humorous, combative, or intellectual communication, including jokes that cross the line of propriety and good taste.
Moving through engaging case studies of Internet-derived humor about momentous disasters in recent American popular culture and history, The Last Laugh chronicles how and why new media have become a predominant means of vernacular expression. Trevor J. Blank argues that computer-mediated communication has helped to compensate for users' sense of physical detachment in the "real" world, while generating newly meaningful and dynamic opportunities for the creation and dissemination of folklore. Drawing together recent developments in new media studies with the analytical tools of folklore studies, he makes a strong case for the significance to contemporary folklore of technologically driven trends in folk and mass culture.
"The Last Laugh is required reading for anyone interested in the many roles digital media now play in our everyday lives."—Robert Glenn Howard, author of Digital Jesus: The Making of a New Christian Fundamentalist Community on the Internet
“The Last Laugh provides a useful map for a changing landscape.”—The Times Literary Supplement
“The Last Laugh is a model of meticulous scholarship and a highly recommended contribution to academic library Cultural Studies, Contemporary Folk Lore Studies, and Media Studies reference collections.”— Midwest Book Review
“This lively and meticulously researched study makes a persuasive case for the future of folklore that is already here.”—Western Folklore
Trevor J. Blank is an assistant professor of communication at the State University of New York at Potsdam. He is editor of the e-journal New Directions in Folklore and of the books Folklore and the Internet: Vernacular Expression in a Digital World and Folk Culture in the Digital Age: The Emergent Dynamics of Human Interaction.
List of Illustrations
1 Searching for Connections: How and Why We Use New Media for Vernacular Expression
2 The Evolution of Humor and Mass-Mediated Disasters in the Late Twentieth Century
3 From 9/11 to the Death of bin Laden: Vernacular Expression and the Emergence of Web 2.0
4 "Intimate Strangers": The Folk Response to Celebrity Death and Falls from Grace
5 From Sports Hero to Supervillain; Or, How Tiger Woods Wrecked His Car(eer)
6 Michael Jackson and the Humor of Death
7 Laughing to Death: Tradition, Vernacular Expression, and American Culture in the Digital Age