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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Disaster Humor - part 2

Still trying to consume jokes and funnies about our very not funny reality. In my first post about disaster humor I promised to put together some rigorous insights about various techniques, modules, classes of Covid-19. I don't have much of those yet, except to say that the jokes about quarantine life and social distancing are far more funny to me than those directly about the virus, its lethal consequences, or the politics of disfunction. I guess that even within this massive crisis, there are some aspects that are easier to make light of and others that are too scary to touch.

Meanwhile -- my wonderful, smart and funny colleague Lisa Ramsey, who is my everything guru when it comes to trademark law, sent me funny jokes which she has shown her students [via zoom] asking them if they are fair use. Here are many of these jokes for your enjoyment. My favorite is Finding Wally - during social distancing. As to fair use, we have the controversial decision which I have always disagreed with - Dr. Seuss v. Penguin, that I think would suggest that the Wally caricature is not fair use because it is satire about life itself and our current reality and not a parody specifically of Waldo. I discuss that case and Barbie fair use cases in You Don't Own Me

Another great thing I discovered - there is a journal called Comedy Studies. One recent study published in this serious journal finds that to talk about climate change, when the subject was approached using humor, 90 percent of the subjects felt more hopeful and felt that their commitment to climate change action was more sustainable. So I think this could be translatable to taking action, as much as we can, a small as we feel facing this huge overwhelming pandemic.




Posted by Orly Lobel on March 28, 2020 at 01:16 AM | Permalink


There is an old Simpson's episode in which Bart opens up a new edition of "Where's Waldo" which is a picture of Waldo alone in a public space, waving at the reader. Bart says, "Boy, he's not even trying anymore." Prescient.

Posted by: Howard Wasserman | Mar 29, 2020 11:38:40 AM

David Lat has been transferred from the ICU to a regular ward at NYU. Still on oxygen, but able to eat solid food.

Posted by: Art Deco | Mar 29, 2020 8:08:24 AM

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