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International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

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Volume 25, Issue 2


A festivus for the restivus: Jewish-American comedians respond to Christmas as the national American holiday

Eric Shouse, / Bernard Timberg,
Published Online: 2012-04-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2012-0008


Drawing on scholars who have discussed humor's capacity to simultaneously unite and divide (Appel 1996; Mintz 1999; Meyer 2000) and on Kenneth Burke's (1969b) rhetoric of identification and division, this paper describes the rhetorical strategies Jewish-American humorists have used to respond to Christmas as a national American holiday. An examination of Jewish humor about Christmas contributes to the growing literature describing how Jewish humorists have helped shape American popular culture (Bloom 2003; Cohen 1987; Gabler 1988; Limon 2000; Zurawik 2003). In addition, our paper makes a theoretical contribution to the study of humor by expanding upon previous research that has focused on how humor creates unity and division. Specifically, we explain how humor can foster identification and division simultaneously not only between groups, but inside each of us, often resulting in partial forms of identification and division with our humorists.

Keywords:: identification; division; Jewish humor; Christmas; holiday

About the article

Published Online: 2012-04-27

Published in Print: 2012-05-25

Citation Information: Humor, Volume 25, Issue 2, Pages 133–153, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2012-0008.

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©[2012] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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