Intertextuality and Targeting the Other in Online News Reader Comments

Authors

CHOVANEC Jan

Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
Description In humour studies, the targeting of some other group tends to be seen as the characteristic feature of ethnic jokes/humour. The outgroup is perceived to be different from the ingroup and to hold some stereotypical qualities that are subject to humorous treatment. While some forms of humour that involve such outgroups have some political implications (e.g. three-nation jokes), the political dimension tends to be backgrounded. Based on data from reader comments in English and Czech online newspapers on the recent migration crisis, this paper documents several forms of humour that targets ‘the other’– jokes, witticisms, irony and allusion. The focus is on how certain subtle intertextual references, which presume an ideological alignment between the producers and recipients of humour, can give rise to humorous effects. Intertextuality is carried through specific phrases and formulations that readers can easily recognize as belonging to other texts and prior discourses. The analysis of the data suggests that this ethnic-based humour often targets groups and collectivities that constitute ‘the other’ (immigrants, Muslims, westerners) needs to be read – due to its intertextual nature – as political. Once contextualized with respect to the current socio-political situation, such humour can be read as not necessarily targeting the groups in question but merely using them to undermine and delegitimize current political ideas 34 C Humour: Positively (?) Transforming and dominant ideologies. In this sense, other-oriented humour in reader comments constitutes a popular counter-discourse that positions itself in opposition to the political and mainstream media narratives.
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