Language Change in Humor Magazines

analytical Essay
1624 words
1624 words

A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y. I love the vowels. And the consonants… Europe, Asia, I think Gilligan’s Island was one of them. – Frank Caliendo impersonating George Bush

Language is our gateway to understanding the world around us, but it is always evolving; the words we use everyday are constantly changing. Since the mid 20th century, some terms common to that time have either dropped off or have evolved to mean something different than its original intent. However, language that is used for a different areas evolve in different ways. I will examine, particularly, the area of language involved with humor and jokes. If language shapes the way we perceive the world, is it necessary that the language associated with jokes and humor must always be changing in order to be funny, or has humor had a constant element that will never change regardless of the language use of that era? I will compare the various types language (slang, etc.), both spoken and written, in the most popular forms of comedy found in the 1950’s and 1960’s until now. You do not have to be a professional comedian to tell or understand a joke. Humor today commonly refers to the tendency of provoking amusement or laughter; primarily through language. Over the past 50 years comedy has played an important role in shaping and influencing our culture. But the question remains: How and why is language changing? There are many ways to go about determining the answer to this question, so to narrow it down I am only going to look at areas of humor in magazines (specifically MAD magazine) and censorship. In my research, I will uncover whether or not there has been significant language change, possible causes for the language change, and what we can expect comedy will be lik...

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...ut them. Humor is a large part of the media industry, with TV, radio, magazines, but more importantly culture. It is culture that is constantly demanding change in the language of humor. Nothing can stop the cultural zeitgeist, not even the FCC. As long as we continue to evolve as a species, developing new ideas and ways of living, there will always be a necessity for change.


Works Cited

Bruce, Lenny. "To is a Preposition, Come is a Verb". The Trials of Lenny Bruce. University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Carlin, George "Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say on TV" – script

Fromkin, V., Rodman, R., & Hyams, N. (2006 or 2010). An introduction to language (8th ed. or 9th ed.) USA: Cengage Learning.

Gaines, William. MAD Magazine 2005: Issue-XL #13. Print.

Price, Roger. "Advice To Young Men ON How To Get Into The Army." MAD Feb. : 45-52Print.

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that they love the vowels and consonants. gilligan's island was one of them.
  • Analyzes how language has evolved since the mid 20th century, and compares the various types of language used in the most popular forms of comedy from the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Explains that comedy comes in many forms, including social commentary, observational humor, and written and performed satire. since the 60's, the language involved with jokes and humor has made drastic changes.
  • Explains that mad magazine became revolutionary for the widespread of printed comedy. it began as a comic with its legendary lead man, alfred e. newman, and founders harvey kurtzman and william gaines started adding articles which criticized popular trends.
  • Analyzes the use of language and slang in the 1963 mad magazine article titled "advice to young men on how to get in the army."
  • Opines that humor is a large part of the media industry, with tv, radio, magazines, but more importantly culture that demands change in the language of humor.
  • Opines that lenny bruce's "to is a preposition, come is
  • Explains that fromkin, rodman, and hyams, have written an introduction to language (8th ed.
  • Describes price, roger's advice to young men on how to get into the army.
  • Analyzes how humor in its most prevalent forms exploits the language of pop culture to get laughs.
  • Explains that the 1960's were a tough time for lenny bruce, richard pryor, and george carlin. the fcc had strict censorship regulation that did not allow the use of "obscenities".
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