The Sword And Shield Metaphor And Other Perspectives Essay

The Sword And Shield Metaphor And Other Perspectives Essay

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Richard Pryor once said, “There’s a thin line between to laugh with and to laugh at” (A-Z Quotes). Leon Rappoport, a professor at Kansas State University, believed in the same thin line as Pryor. Rappoport received his BA and MS at New York University, and completed his PhD in 1963 at the University of Colorado (Kansas State University). He studied psychological sciences, and concentrated his studies in decision making and human judgment, even writing a book called Punchlines: The Case for Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Humor (Kansas State University). In another book, The Sword and Shield Metaphor and Other Perspectives, Rappoport claims that humor depends on how the audience receives humor because humor depends on the individual and the experiences the audience has had. The audience can either be on the side of the audience that is getting laughed at, or they can be on the side of the audience that is laughing with other people.
One claim that Rappoport makes is that humor can either be offensive or funny depending on the audience’s background. In the sword and shield metaphor, the audience faces two contrasting sides that deal with stereotype humor. The first side is the sword that represents a weapon designed to mock and insult minority groups. The second side is the shield, which can be represented to serve the interests of minority groups. The shield side of the metaphor can be used in an effective way by minorities as a way to claim pride in their identity. Together, these two sides can either offend a group, or make them laugh. For example, Rappoport includes a joke to further prove that a joke can be offensive, and amusing. “Why are Jews not concerned about the abortion controversy? Because they don’t consider...


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...vidence, and in doing so he provides a narrative style piece. Also, the types of sources he includes are mainly primary, coming directly from the source. When Rappoport uses jokes in his book he doesn’t alter their interpretations, he takes them and quotes them exactly as they are told. Although, he does include secondary and tertiary sources when he includes the definitions of humor and ethnicity that come from either people or the dictionary. Further, Rappoport includes claims of values when he includes credible sources to use as support for his claim that humor cannot be defined, and when he argues that humor cannot be quantified because even psychologists can’t figure out what makes people laugh. Rappoport uses primary sources, claims of value, and a narrative style to argue that humor is based off of the audience, and the experiences the audience has had.

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