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    Chip Kidd: IMG Powell's Q&A: Chip Kidd



    Describe your latest book. Judge This is a book that evolved out of discussions with the TED Books team, chiefly my editor Michelle Quint. It is a... Continue »
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This title in other editions

Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters

by

Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Abe and his friend Sol are out for a walk together in a part of town they haven't been in before. Passing a Christian church, they notice a curious sign in front that says "$1,000 to anyone who will convert." "I wonder what that's about," says Abe. "I think I'll go in and have a look. I'll be back in a minute; just wait for me."

Sol sits on the sidewalk bench and waits patiently for nearly half an hour. Finally, Abe reappears.

"Well," asks Sol, "what are they up to? Who are they trying to convert? Why do they care? Did you get the $1,000?"

Indignantly Abe replies, "Money. That's all you people care about."

Ted Cohen thinks that's not a bad joke. But he also doesn't think it's an easy joke. For a listener or reader to laugh at Abe's conversion, a complicated set of conditions must be met. First, a listener has to recognize that Abe and Sol are Jewish names. Second, that listener has to be familiar with the widespread idea that Jews are more interested in money than anything else. And finally, the listener needs to know this information in advance of the joke, and without anyone telling him or her. Jokes, in short, are complicated transactions in which communities are forged, intimacy is offered, and otherwise offensive stereotypes and cliches lose their sting—at least sometimes.

Jokes is a book of jokes and a book about them. Cohen loves a good laugh, but as a philosopher, he is also interested in how jokes work, why they work, and when they don't. The delight at the end of a joke is the result of a complex set of conditions and processes, and Cohen takes us through these conditions in a philosophical exploration of humor. He considers questions of audience, selection of joke topics, the ethnic character of jokes, and their morality, all with plenty of examples that will make you either chuckle or wince. Jokes: more humorous than other philosophy books, more philosophical than other humor books.

"Befitting its subject, this study of jokes is . . . light, funny, and thought-provoking. . . . [T]he method fits the material, allowing the author to pepper the book with a diversity of jokes without flattening their humor as a steamroller theory might. Such a book is only as good as its jokes, and most of his are good. . . . [E]ntertainment and ideas in one gossamer package."—Kirkus Reviews

"One of the many triumphs of Ted Cohen's Jokes-apart from the not incidental fact that the jokes are so good that he doesn't bother to compete with them-is that it never tries to sound more profound than the jokes it tells. . . . [H]e makes you feel he is doing an unusual kind of philosophy. As though he has managed to turn J. L. Austin into one of the Marx Brothers. . . . Reading Jokes makes you feel that being genial is the most profound thing we ever do-which is something jokes also make us feel-and that doing philosophy is as natural as being amused."—Adam Phillips, London Review of Books

"[A] lucid and jargon-free study of the remarkable fact that we divert each other with stories meant to make us laugh. . . . An illuminating study, replete with killer jokes."—Kevin McCardle, The Herald (Glasgow)

"Cohen is an ardent joke-maker, keen to offer us a glimpse of how jokes are crafted and to have us dwell rather longer on their effects."—Barry C. Smith, Times Literary Supplement

"Because Ted Cohen loves jokes, we come to appreciate them more, and perhaps think further about the quality of good humor and the appropriateness of laughter in our lives."—Steve Carlson, Christian Science Monitor

Synopsis:

As a philosopher, Ted Cohen is interested in how jokes work, why they work and when they don't. He considers questions of audience, selection of joke topics, the ethnic character of jokes and their morality, all with of examples that should make the reader either chuckle or wince.

Synopsis:

Essays by Sam Steward, originally published under the name Philip Sparrow, and now edited for republication by Jeremy Mulderig.

and#160;and#160; Samuel Stewardandrsquo;s life spanned most of the 20th century (1909-1993).and#160; He was an English professor (at DePaul University), a tattoo artist (the Hellandrsquo;s Angels were a prime client), and writer of erotic fiction whose place in gay history has been established by Justin Springandrsquo;s award-winning biography, Secret History (FSG, 2010).and#160; Muldergiandrsquo;s edition of Stewardandrsquo;s essays now gives us Steward in his own words in a way that Springandrsquo;s biography could only gesture at.and#160; We have here a singular collection of witty, charming, and erudite essays in the tradition of Montaigne and Bacon, examining the world at large and Stewardandrsquo;s and the readerandrsquo;s place in it that bring the persona Philip Sparrow to life while reflecting Stewardandrsquo;s own expansive knowledge of literature, history, music, art, philosophy, and contemporary events (not to mention Chicago people and places).and#160; Mulderig supplies consistently smart and informative headnotes to each of the 30 essays that speak to general readers on a wide range of topicsandmdash;including cryptography, espionage, psychiatry, opera, pet cemeteries, bodybuilding, keepsakes, medieval recipes, Gertrude Stein, Chicago, Paris, and the Womenandrsquo;s Christian Temperance Union.and#160; That they were originally published in the Illinois Dental Journal (from 1944 to 1949) is notable in itself, for the obscurity of the source as well as the novelty of a venue that would compel its author to create a persona.and#160; Under the guise of andldquo;Philip Sparrowandrdquo; he could say things the he might otherwise have written under his own name. Steward later published material in a Swiss gay magazine and erotica for Danish gay magazines and, in the 1980s, for The Advocate. The collection is a significant life document and will appeal to general readers and students across a spectrum of GLBT studies, Chicago literature, American Studies, and go directly to passionate fans of this cult author, an audience that was born in 2010 with Springandrsquo;s biography.

Synopsis:

Samuel Steward (1909andndash;93) was an English professor, a tattoo artist for the Hells Angels, a sexual adventurer who shared his considerable range of experiences with Alfred Kinsey, and a prolific writer of everything from scholarly articles to gay erotica (under the penname Phil Andros). Given this biography, he sounds like a most unlikely contributor to a trade magazine like the Illinois Dental Journal. Yet from 1944 to 1949, writing under the name Philip Sparrow, Steward produced monthly columns for the journal that were full of wit and flourish and that constituted a kind of disguised autobiography, with their reflections on his friendships and experiences and their endless allusions to his trove of multifarious knowledge.and#160;

and#160;

For Philip Sparrow Tells All, Jeremy Mulderig has gathered thirty of Stewardandrsquo;s most playful and insightful columns, which together paint a vivid portrait of 1940s America. In these essays we spend time with Stewardandrsquo;s friends like Gertrude Stein, Andrandeacute; Gide, and Thornton Wilder (who was also Stewardandrsquo;s occasional lover). We hear of his stint as a holiday sales clerk at Marshall Fieldandrsquo;s (where he met and seduced Rock Hudson), his roles as an opera and ballet extra in hilariously shoddy costumes, his hoarding tendencies, his disappointment with the drabness of menandrsquo;s fashions, and his dread of turning forty. We go along with him to a bodybuilding competition and a pet cemetery, and together we wander the boulevards of Paris and the alleys of Algiers. Throughout, Mulderigandrsquo;s entertaining annotations identify Stewardandrsquo;s often obscure allusions and tie the essays to the people and events of the day.

and#160;

Many decades later, Stewardandrsquo;s writing feels as stylistically fresh and charming as it did in his time. With richly detailed introductions to the essays that situate them in the context of Stewardandrsquo;s fascinating life, Philip Sparrow Tells All will bring this unusual and engaging writer to a fresh readership beyond the dental chair.

Synopsis:

Abe and his friend Sol are out for a walk together in a part of town they haven't been in before. Passing a Christian church, they notice a curious sign in front that says $1,000 to anyone who will convert. I wonder what that's about, says Abe. I think I'll go in and have a look. I'll be back in a minute; just wait for me.

Sol sits on the sidewalk bench and waits patiently for nearly half an hour. Finally, Abe reappears.

Well, asks Sol, what are they up to? Who are they trying to convert? Why do they care? Did you get the $1,000?

Indignantly Abe replies, Money. That's all you people care about.

Ted Cohen thinks that's not a bad joke. But he also doesn't think it's an easy joke. For a listener or reader to laugh at Abe's conversion, a complicated set of conditions must be met. First, a listener has to recognize that Abe and Sol are Jewish names. Second, that listener has to be familiar with the widespread idea that Jews are more interested in money than anything else. And finally, the listener needs to know this information in advance of the joke, and without anyone telling him or her. Jokes, in short, are complicated transactions in which communities are forged, intimacy is offered, and otherwise offensive stereotypes and cliches lose their sting--at least sometimes.

Jokes is a book of jokes and a book about them. Cohen loves a good laugh, but as a philosopher, he is also interested in how jokes work, why they work, and when they don't. The delight at the end of a joke is the result of a complex set of conditions and processes, and Cohen takes us through these conditions in a philosophical exploration of humor. He considers questions of audience, selection of joke topics, the ethnic character of jokes, and their morality, all with plenty of examples that will make you either chuckle or wince. Jokes: more humorous than other philosophy books, more philosophical than other humor books.

Befitting its subject, this study of jokes is . . . light, funny, and thought-provoking. . . . T]he method fits the material, allowing the author to pepper the book with a diversity of jokes without flattening their humor as a steamroller theory might. Such a book is only as good as its jokes, and most of his are good. . . . E]ntertainment and ideas in one gossamer package.--Kirkus Reviews

One of the many triumphs of Ted Cohen's Jokes-apart from the not incidental fact that the jokes are so good that he doesn't bother to compete with them-is that it never tries to sound more profound than the jokes it tells. . . . H]e makes you feel he is doing an unusual kind of philosophy. As though he has managed to turn J. L. Austin into one of the Marx Brothers. . . . Reading Jokes makes you feel that being genial is the most profound thing we ever do-which is something jokes also make us feel-and that doing philosophy is as natural as being amused.--Adam Phillips, London Review of Books

A] lucid and jargon-free study of the remarkable fact that we divert each other with stories meant to make us laugh. . . . An illuminating study, replete with killer jokes.--Kevin McCardle, The Herald (Glasgow)

Cohen is an ardent joke-maker, keen to offer us a glimpse of how jokes are crafted and to have us dwell rather longer on their effects.--Barry C. Smith, Times Literary Supplement

Because Ted Cohen loves jokes, we come to appreciate them more, and perhaps think further about the quality of good humor and the appropriateness of laughter in our lives.--Steve Carlson, Christian Science Monitor

About the Author

Ted Cohen is a professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago. He is the editor of Essays in Kant's Aesthetics and Pursuits of Reason.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

1. Introduction

2. Jokes Are Conditional

3. When Jokes Are Asymmetrical

4. Problems and Occasions for Joke-making

5. Jewish Jokes and the Acceptance of Absurdity

6. Taste, Morality, and the Propriety of Joking

Appendix

Index of Jokes

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226112312
Subtitle:
Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters
Author:
Cohen, Ted
Author:
Mulderig, Jeremy
Author:
Steward, Samuel
Author:
Cohen, Ted
Author:
Spring, Justin
Publisher:
University Of Chicago Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
Modern
Subject:
Form - Essays
Subject:
History & Surveys - Modern
Subject:
Humor-Anthologies
Subject:
Essays
Edition Description:
1
Publication Date:
20010501
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
17 halftones
Pages:
112
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Anthologies
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Jokes
Humanities » Philosophy » General

Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.00 In Stock
Product details 112 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226112312 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , As a philosopher, Ted Cohen is interested in how jokes work, why they work and when they don't. He considers questions of audience, selection of joke topics, the ethnic character of jokes and their morality, all with of examples that should make the reader either chuckle or wince.
"Synopsis" by ,
Essays by Sam Steward, originally published under the name Philip Sparrow, and now edited for republication by Jeremy Mulderig.

and#160;and#160; Samuel Stewardandrsquo;s life spanned most of the 20th century (1909-1993).and#160; He was an English professor (at DePaul University), a tattoo artist (the Hellandrsquo;s Angels were a prime client), and writer of erotic fiction whose place in gay history has been established by Justin Springandrsquo;s award-winning biography, Secret History (FSG, 2010).and#160; Muldergiandrsquo;s edition of Stewardandrsquo;s essays now gives us Steward in his own words in a way that Springandrsquo;s biography could only gesture at.and#160; We have here a singular collection of witty, charming, and erudite essays in the tradition of Montaigne and Bacon, examining the world at large and Stewardandrsquo;s and the readerandrsquo;s place in it that bring the persona Philip Sparrow to life while reflecting Stewardandrsquo;s own expansive knowledge of literature, history, music, art, philosophy, and contemporary events (not to mention Chicago people and places).and#160; Mulderig supplies consistently smart and informative headnotes to each of the 30 essays that speak to general readers on a wide range of topicsandmdash;including cryptography, espionage, psychiatry, opera, pet cemeteries, bodybuilding, keepsakes, medieval recipes, Gertrude Stein, Chicago, Paris, and the Womenandrsquo;s Christian Temperance Union.and#160; That they were originally published in the Illinois Dental Journal (from 1944 to 1949) is notable in itself, for the obscurity of the source as well as the novelty of a venue that would compel its author to create a persona.and#160; Under the guise of andldquo;Philip Sparrowandrdquo; he could say things the he might otherwise have written under his own name. Steward later published material in a Swiss gay magazine and erotica for Danish gay magazines and, in the 1980s, for The Advocate. The collection is a significant life document and will appeal to general readers and students across a spectrum of GLBT studies, Chicago literature, American Studies, and go directly to passionate fans of this cult author, an audience that was born in 2010 with Springandrsquo;s biography.

"Synopsis" by ,
Samuel Steward (1909andndash;93) was an English professor, a tattoo artist for the Hells Angels, a sexual adventurer who shared his considerable range of experiences with Alfred Kinsey, and a prolific writer of everything from scholarly articles to gay erotica (under the penname Phil Andros). Given this biography, he sounds like a most unlikely contributor to a trade magazine like the Illinois Dental Journal. Yet from 1944 to 1949, writing under the name Philip Sparrow, Steward produced monthly columns for the journal that were full of wit and flourish and that constituted a kind of disguised autobiography, with their reflections on his friendships and experiences and their endless allusions to his trove of multifarious knowledge.and#160;

and#160;

For Philip Sparrow Tells All, Jeremy Mulderig has gathered thirty of Stewardandrsquo;s most playful and insightful columns, which together paint a vivid portrait of 1940s America. In these essays we spend time with Stewardandrsquo;s friends like Gertrude Stein, Andrandeacute; Gide, and Thornton Wilder (who was also Stewardandrsquo;s occasional lover). We hear of his stint as a holiday sales clerk at Marshall Fieldandrsquo;s (where he met and seduced Rock Hudson), his roles as an opera and ballet extra in hilariously shoddy costumes, his hoarding tendencies, his disappointment with the drabness of menandrsquo;s fashions, and his dread of turning forty. We go along with him to a bodybuilding competition and a pet cemetery, and together we wander the boulevards of Paris and the alleys of Algiers. Throughout, Mulderigandrsquo;s entertaining annotations identify Stewardandrsquo;s often obscure allusions and tie the essays to the people and events of the day.

and#160;

Many decades later, Stewardandrsquo;s writing feels as stylistically fresh and charming as it did in his time. With richly detailed introductions to the essays that situate them in the context of Stewardandrsquo;s fascinating life, Philip Sparrow Tells All will bring this unusual and engaging writer to a fresh readership beyond the dental chair.

"Synopsis" by , Abe and his friend Sol are out for a walk together in a part of town they haven't been in before. Passing a Christian church, they notice a curious sign in front that says $1,000 to anyone who will convert. I wonder what that's about, says Abe. I think I'll go in and have a look. I'll be back in a minute; just wait for me.

Sol sits on the sidewalk bench and waits patiently for nearly half an hour. Finally, Abe reappears.

Well, asks Sol, what are they up to? Who are they trying to convert? Why do they care? Did you get the $1,000?

Indignantly Abe replies, Money. That's all you people care about.

Ted Cohen thinks that's not a bad joke. But he also doesn't think it's an easy joke. For a listener or reader to laugh at Abe's conversion, a complicated set of conditions must be met. First, a listener has to recognize that Abe and Sol are Jewish names. Second, that listener has to be familiar with the widespread idea that Jews are more interested in money than anything else. And finally, the listener needs to know this information in advance of the joke, and without anyone telling him or her. Jokes, in short, are complicated transactions in which communities are forged, intimacy is offered, and otherwise offensive stereotypes and cliches lose their sting--at least sometimes.

Jokes is a book of jokes and a book about them. Cohen loves a good laugh, but as a philosopher, he is also interested in how jokes work, why they work, and when they don't. The delight at the end of a joke is the result of a complex set of conditions and processes, and Cohen takes us through these conditions in a philosophical exploration of humor. He considers questions of audience, selection of joke topics, the ethnic character of jokes, and their morality, all with plenty of examples that will make you either chuckle or wince. Jokes: more humorous than other philosophy books, more philosophical than other humor books.

Befitting its subject, this study of jokes is . . . light, funny, and thought-provoking. . . . T]he method fits the material, allowing the author to pepper the book with a diversity of jokes without flattening their humor as a steamroller theory might. Such a book is only as good as its jokes, and most of his are good. . . . E]ntertainment and ideas in one gossamer package.--Kirkus Reviews

One of the many triumphs of Ted Cohen's Jokes-apart from the not incidental fact that the jokes are so good that he doesn't bother to compete with them-is that it never tries to sound more profound than the jokes it tells. . . . H]e makes you feel he is doing an unusual kind of philosophy. As though he has managed to turn J. L. Austin into one of the Marx Brothers. . . . Reading Jokes makes you feel that being genial is the most profound thing we ever do-which is something jokes also make us feel-and that doing philosophy is as natural as being amused.--Adam Phillips, London Review of Books

A] lucid and jargon-free study of the remarkable fact that we divert each other with stories meant to make us laugh. . . . An illuminating study, replete with killer jokes.--Kevin McCardle, The Herald (Glasgow)

Cohen is an ardent joke-maker, keen to offer us a glimpse of how jokes are crafted and to have us dwell rather longer on their effects.--Barry C. Smith, Times Literary Supplement

Because Ted Cohen loves jokes, we come to appreciate them more, and perhaps think further about the quality of good humor and the appropriateness of laughter in our lives.--Steve Carlson, Christian Science Monitor

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