Achmed the dead terrorist and humor in popular geopolitics
- 933 Downloads
The critical geopolitics literature has engaged popular culture and media in many forms, usually focused on mass media or elite-produced niche media. The issue of humor as a form of popular culture with geopolitical content has been explored only recently by geographers. This paper utilizes disposition theory, with its emphasis on social context, to link humor and geopolitical analyses of humor. The analysis of two Jeff Dunham comedy skits centering on the character Achmed the Dead Terrorist demonstrates the utility of disposition theory as a construct to situate humor in the context of its original production and as a fluid, global phenomenon that is shared through various social networks via the Internet.
KeywordsCritical geopolitics Disposition theory Humor Popular culture Popular geopolitics
- Alderman, D. H. (2006). Rednecks, bluenecks, and hickphonics: Southern humor on the electronic frontier. In E. J. Piancentino (Ed.), The enduring legacy of old southwest humor (pp. 261–278). Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.Google Scholar
- Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined communities. London: Verso.Google Scholar
- Billig, M. (1995). Banal nationalism. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Boak, J. (2007). Comedy for dummies: Ventriloquist Jeff Dunham brings suitcase-full of friends to Stranahan theater. The Blade. October 18, p. E3.Google Scholar
- Boskin, J. (1987). The complicity of humor: The life and death of Sambo. In J. Morreall (Ed.), The philosophy of humor and laughter (pp. 250–263). New York: State of New York University Press.Google Scholar
- Brown, D., & Bryant, J. (1983). Humor in mass media. In P. E. McGhee & J. H. Goldstein (Eds.), The handbook of humor research, applied studies, Vol. II (pp. 143–172). NewYork: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
- Carnes, J. (2007) Ventriloquist Dunham talks out of both sides of his mouth. The Sacramento Bee. September 21, p. TK8.Google Scholar
- Chapman, A. J. (1983). Humor and laughter in social interaction and some implications for humor research. In P. E. McGhee & J. H. Goldstein (Eds.), The handbook of humor research, Vol. I (pp. 135–158). New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
- Clark, M. (1987). Humor and incongruity. In J. Morreall (Ed.), The philosophy of humor & laughter (pp. 139–155). New York: State of New York University Press.Google Scholar
- Culcasi, K., & Gokmen, M. (2009). The face of danger: The beard in the U.S. media representations of the Middle East. AETHER: Journal of Media Geography (forthcoming).Google Scholar
- Davies, C. (1990). Ethnic humor around the world: A comparative analysis. Bloomington, IN and Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- de Sousa, R. (1987). When is it wrong to laugh? In J. Morreall (Ed.), The philosophy of humor and laughter (pp. 226–249). New York: State of New York University Press.Google Scholar
- Deibert, R. (1997). Parchment, printing, and hypermedia. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Fine, G. A. (1983). Sociological approaches to the study of humor. In P. E. McGhee & J. H. Goldstein (Eds.), The handbook of humor research, Vol. I (pp. 159–182). New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
- Fox, J., Koloen, G., & Sahin, V. (2007). No joke: A comparison of substance in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and broadcast network television coverage of the 2004 Presidential election campaign. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 51, 213–227.Google Scholar
- Gillman, B. (2007). Puppet master—Comic/Ventriloquist brings act to Utah. Standard-Examiner. October 18, 2007. (Section: GO., No page given) Accessed via NewsBank October 15, 2008.Google Scholar
- Hugill, P. (2008). German great-power relations in the pages of “Simplicissimus”. The Geographical Review. 1896–1914, 98(1), 1–23.Google Scholar
- LaFave, L., Haddad, J., & Maesen, W. A. (1976). Superiority, enhanced self-esteem, and perceived incongruity humour theory. In A. J. Chapman & H. C. Foot (Eds.), Humor and laughter: Theory, research and applications (pp. 63–92). London: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Martin, M. W. (1987). Humor and aesthetic enjoyment of incongruities. In J. Morreall (Ed.), The philosophy of humor & laughter (pp. 172–186). New York: State of New York University Press.Google Scholar
- McDonnell, B. (2008). Puppets’ purpose more than laughs—entertainment—ventriloquist wants audience to care. The Oklahoman. October 3, 2008. P. 9D.Google Scholar
- Miller, J. R. (2008). Comedian defends ‘Achmed the Dead Terrorist’ Puppet routine against South African Ban. Fox News http://www.foxnews.come/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,431866,00.html.
- Mintz, L. E. (1983). Humor and popular culture. In P. E. McGhee & J. H. Goldstein (Eds.), The handbook of humor research, applied studies, Vol. II (pp. 129–142). New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
- Morreall, J. (1987). A new theory of laughter. In J. Morreall (Ed.), The philosophy of humor and laughter (pp. 128–138). New York: State of New York University Press.Google Scholar
- National Annenberg Election Survey. (2004). Daily show viewers knowledgeable about presidential campaign, National Annenberg election survey shows. September 21. http://web.archive.org/web/20050308165738/http://www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/naes/2004_03_late-night-knowledge-2_9-21_pr.pdf. Accessed November 6, 2008.
- Niven, D., Lichter, R., & Amundson, D. (2003). The political content of late-night comedy. Press/Politics, 8(3), 118–133.Google Scholar
- Nyroos, L. (2001). Religeopolitics: Dissident geopolitics and the ‘fundamentalism’ of Hamas and Kach. Geopolitics, 6(3), 135–157.Google Scholar
- Olesen, T. (2007). Contentious cartoons: Elite and media-driven mobilization. Mobilization: An International Quarterly, 12(1), 37–52.Google Scholar
- Power, M., & Crampton, A. (Eds.). (2007). Cinema and popular geo-politics. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Raney, A. A. (2003). Disposition-based theories of enjoyment. In J. Bryant, D. Roskos-Ewaoldson, & J. Cantor (Eds.), Communication and emotion: Essays in honor of Dolf Zillmann (pp. 61–84). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Robinson, V. M. (1983). Humor and health. In P. E. McGhee & J. H. Goldstein (Eds.), The handbook of humor research, Vol. II (pp. 109–128). New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
- Rothbart, M. K. (1976). Incongruity, problem-solving and laughter. In A. J. Chapman & H. C. Foot (Eds.), Humor and laughter: Theory, research and application (pp. 37–54). London: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Rothbaum, R. (2002). These dummies talk back. Poughkeepsie Journal. November 15, p. J05.Google Scholar
- Sharp, J. (2000). Condensing the cold war: Reader’s digest and American identity. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Smuts, A. (2006). Humor. The internet encyclopedia of philosophy. Retrieved December 12, 2007, from http://www.iep.utm.edu/h/humor.htm.
- Tsai, M. (2007). Honey, I’m Dead!: How god rewards a female suicide bomber. www.slate.com. Accessed November 5, 2008.
- Wolff, H., Smith, C., & Murray, H. (1934). The psychology of humor. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 28(4), 341–365.Google Scholar
- Zillmann, D. (1983). Disparagement humor. In P. E. McGhee & J. H. Goldstein (Eds.), The handbook of humor research, Vol. II (pp. 85–108). New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
- Zillmann, D., & Cantor, J. R. (1976). A disposition theory of humour and mirth. In A. J. Chapman & H. C. Foot (Eds.), Humor and laughter: Theory, research and applications (pp. 93–116). London: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Dunham, J. (n.d.) 2008 Achmed the dead terrorist. Accessed April 1, 2008. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgRPc7d9GPoandfeature=related.
- Dunham, J. (n.d.) 2008 Jingle bombs. Accessed April 1, 2008. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7B-cHSy8F0.
- All Comments. Achmed the Dead Terrorist. (2008). Accessed October 20, 2008. http://www.youtube.com/comment_servlet?all_commentsandv=1uwOL4rB-goandfromurl=/watch%3Fv%3D1uwOL4rB-go.