Rebellious Laughter brings together everyday language, social interaction, and cultural warfare to form a brilliant social history. In this important survey, readers will find humor from sources as diverse as the U.S. itself: jokes from whites, blacks, women, and Hispanics; conservatives and liberals; public workers and university students; the powerless and power brokers.
With wit and insight Boskin notes how humor is a cultural tool that can be both a divisive and a coalescing force behind social change and conflict. He argues that jokes provide a cultural barometer of concerns and anxieties, frequently appearing in our day-to-day language long before these issues become grist for stand-up comics. Laughter, he states, is transformative, the means by which Americans grapple with incongruities that all too often can undercut lofty expectations and ideals.