What we find funny is their failure to adapt, their . Because it reminds us of the qualities of a machine.
The children’s parents were snack vendors, or maids. Thiam called—to answer the question of, how much did it cost to rent the room in the video? He dived under the teacher’s desk and retrieved a nub of chalk. After all, they had watched a video set in Britain.
They struggled to pay the annual fee of ten thousand CFA (twenty dollars). This, it suddenly seemed to everyone, was key to moving forward with the lesson.
So there must be something funny about the accident of it.
We laugh, Bergson argued, because this person’s contact with the ground comes about due to their clumsiness—their inability, given, say, a stone in the street, to change course.
Bergson proposed that we laugh when we notice something machine-like in people.
Biotech Research Papers - Bergson Essay On Laughter
Humanitarian agencies might do well to be attentive to what makes people laugh, that funny crease of the mouth directing us to consider—think about this—where and how development projects fail.
This meant the ten new computers were gathering dust (figuratively—they were kept immaculate, under plastic casing in a locked room). Ten computers dormant, their vast capacity powered off. Here, the teachers’ laughter pointed out that placing a computer in a struggling classroom was, in many cases, a move which avoided grappling with the tough problems students faced.
Recalling the futility of the situation, a teacher laughed. In time, I realized, every time I nudged a teacher to consider questions about computers or about “development,” they paused—and laughed. The computer, heralded as solution, could only provide technological zest—it could enliven, but not provide intellectual ballast to, a lesson in which the essential skills of gathering and questioning knowledge were not transferred.
The problem with any serious discussion of humor, of course, is that the analysis inevitably destroys the fun.
How much more satisfying it is to elucidate Hamlet's melancholy than to explain Falstaff's jokes!