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December 1962

Some Notes on Parodies: With an Example

Arch Intern Med. 1962;110(6):819-822. doi:10.1001/archinte.1962.03620240001001

In our somber times when the idea of fun is looked upon as extraneous or artificial if not downright wicked, when organized as well as unorganized minorities have made it impossible to tell a joke not at somebody's expense, joke telling has more or less vanished. Humor is hemmed in. Literary fun is arid and atrophied. The synthetic gag of television evokes mechanical sound effects to produce artificial applause. For most of us the gag is well named. Our error-prone age has made the word wisecracker by transposition from wiseacre which in turn was a corruption of "wisesayer."

There is, however, one form of humor or wit that has managed to survive. In essence it is more akin to criticism than it is to spontaneous joking or humor. In its perfection parody carries penetrating critique. It may produce anything from slightly astringent amusement to a riot of thigh-slapping, convulsive laughter.

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