A large corpus of wisecracks and jokes has been widespread on internet in contemporary China. This kind of ‘humor’ is important to those who have been ridiculing social reality and very often the political system. It can be constructed as a form of resistance, through quiet, nonviolent means, and act as a stabilizing safely valve without doing any harm to the ‘wisecrackers’. In the meantime, however, such wisecracks probably have no effect in undermining the unsatisfactory aspects of the society or inducing any institutional changes. Instead, when ‘amusing ourselves to death’ becomes the tendency of our mainstream culture, making wisecracks embeds a danger of substituting deep thoughts into the public discourse, and thereby deconstructs the seriousness of meaning-making process of what is happening to us as individuals and to this nation as a whole.
Yanshuang Zhang, Guangxi Normal University, China
Stream: Critical and Cultural Studies, Gender and Communication
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