Essay on Satire and Black Humor in Dr. Strangelove
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Even though Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb screened in the midst of the sobering Cold War, critics were keen on praising the film for its mastery of humor applied to such a sensitive matter. The film is exceedingly loaded with metaphors, innuendos, and allusions that nothing can be left undissected or taken for face value; the resulting effect is understood to be part of Kubrick’s multifarious theme. Kubrick has stated that what began as a “the basis for a serious film about accidental war ” eventually birthed an absurd and farcical classic comedy. The director fuses together irony, satire, and black humor to create a waggish piece but most of all the situation of the times and its…show more content…
In fact, sex weaves itself into the entire film: the survival kit the bombers are given contains female articles and prophylactics, the opening scene is of two planes “mating ”, and the missiles themselves become phallic when Major Kong rides one like a thrilled cowboy. Kubrick’s intent to mix in sex with the looming war plot is compelling because these two acts are primitive characteristics that are still inherently man: the desire to fornicate and the desire to compete/kill. Why audiences should find this uproarious despite the serious matter at hand is exactly because war and lust are crude leftovers despite millenniums of evolution; it is pathetically instinctual that humans create trouble regardless of their intellectual genius. Kubrick employs all techniques of humor but most notably black humor, parody, and irony. Each character is employed to be the amplified version of their real-world counterparts. Americans are military cowboys, Russians are haughty drunks, scientists are insane, and the only woman in the film happens to be a sexy secretary. Regarding the culture of nuclear threat that was present during the time of this film, the characters were necessarily exaggerated to satirize the political dynamics permissible by the
A Decade of Dark Humoranalyzes ways in which popular and visual culture used humor-in a variety of forms-to confront the attacks of September 11, 2001 and, more specifically, the aftermath. This interdisciplinary volume brings together scholars from four countries to discuss the impact of humor and irony on both media discourse and tangible political reality. Furthermore, it demonstrates that laughter is simultaneously an avenue through which social issues are deferred or obfuscated, a way in which neoliberal or neoconservative rhetoric is challenged, and a means of forming alternative political ideologies.
The volume's contributors cover a broad range of media productions, including news parodies (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,The Colbert Report,The Onion), TV roundtable shows (Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher), comic strips and cartoons (Aaron McGruder'sThe Boondocks, Jeff Danzinger's editorial cartoons), television drama (Rescue Me), animated satire (South Park), graphic novels (Art Spiegelman'sIn the Shadow of No Towers), documentary (Fahrenheit 9/11), and other productions.
Along with examining the rhetorical methods and aesthetic techniques of these productions, the essays place each in specific political and journalistic contexts, showing how corporations, news outlets, and political institutions responded to-and sometimes co-opted-these forms of humor.
Subjects: Sociology, Language & Literature