Reading Response 2 | Megan Hockingberry

Can Jokes Bring Down Governments? illustrated a variety of information and history about jokes and memes and the roles they have played in society. Chapter 1 made compelling points about the idea that “the joke is an open-source weapon of the public” and how they’re able to break down barriers and create neutrality in the most unlikely places. I agree with these statements and I think it is incredibly interesting to study the way that jokes and now memes, are able to pull people from different backgrounds together and also, pull us very far apart. Ultimately, I believe that jokes will never be able to bring down the government, but they will continue to be provocative ways for society to create satire.

In addition to reading Can Jokes Bring Down Governments? I looked at the article, Meme Warfare: How the Power of Mass Replication Has Poisoned the US Election by The Guardian. Reading both of these made me question the psychological and social aspects behind jokes. Are jokes actually are making a difference in our society and culture and how we think about things? It is interesting because jokes and memes both have the power of connecting us. As humans, we all use jokes to break down barriers, whether it’s interacting with new people, or using self-deprecating humor to make ourselves feel better. Jokes and memes can successfully do this by providing just enough information for us to understand it and thus, connect with it. But maybe the reason, as Metaheaven mentions, political graphic design has become a joke and has disappeared, because the people connecting with these jokes either get them or they don’t, but they aren’t changing peoples perspectives or ideas. They are not educating anyone about a subject; they are simply making light or bringing forward the shortcomings or opposing beliefs of our society. They are becoming ways to easily brush off heavy subjects and escape having meaningful conversations. They dehumanize and make jokes about the people that have the power to decide our future, which I believe can be dangerous. Because of this, I think they’re successful for what they are, but they don’t have the power to do much than what they already do, thus, they will never be able to bring down the government, but they will allow light to continuously shed on the stupidity of our world and make light of heavy subjects and situations for our own entertainment.

This meme is from the article linked above. I think for this class and audience, it is incredibly relatable and relevant!