Hello Stanford


The character of the Jan 25 Revolution seems to be a common discussion point among Egyptians.  The aspect which we are discussing in this exchange revolves around the humor used in the Square and  in the Western media. The wit expressed in the Square and across the globe  made a target of an out of date regime.

Political humor requires an understanding of  popular culture and the conventions of humor in a given context. -The background information is what sets up the joke. Without this context we run the risk of offending a culture which could easily perceive the  joke as an insult.  Rather than shy away from this , let’s consider it  learn- able moment. And see what lessons we can learn from the gap between what we expect (Jon Stewart is funny , so everyone should laugh) and what happens (He is mocking conservative bias, but will a non-western audience get the joke. )

This juncture between Western culture and a Westernized culture should provide us with meaningful discussion on the topics (Islamaphobia,  Westernization, democracy, etc), which the comedians use as fodder for their jokes.

Our partnership has proven   enjoyable and educational. My partners on the other side of the globe always present interesting ideas , motivated students, and they are very very patient with my email abilities.

Looking forward to an interesting exchange.

Mark Mikhael

Department of Rhetoric and Composition

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This entry was posted in CCR exchange: Stanford-AUC, Spring 2011: Humor and Political Regimes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Hello Stanford

  1. Jack Duane says:

    Thank you for your thoughts. We have some questions for your students:

    During the recent revolution, the American media portrayed social media like Facebook and Twitter as essential tools for helping organize protests. For example, the Twitter feeds from Tunisia that helped inspire protests in Egypt. Do you agree with this? What was the actual role of social media in the revolution and do you feel that you played an active role in it?
    Do you feel that any aspects of your daily lives have changed as a result of the revolution? Do you feel more or less safe? Do you feel you have more or less rights?
    What’s your opinion on youth in America? Do you think we’d be able to mobilize like the youth in Egypt have?
    Most importantly: are there more Subways or McDonald’s in Cairo?

    Thanks and best wishes,
    Jack, Josh, Keith, Deia

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