Repurposing Humor

When deciding what paper to use for my repurposing project, I struggled a bit. Naturally, my first thought was to repurpose one of my papers from the 5 Communications courses I’ve taken since coming to Michigan. However, most of those papers were solely made up of my analyzation of different pieces of media, and none of them were interesting enough for me to pursue for an entire semester. I finally decided to repurpose a paper from one of my favorite courses I’ve taken at Michigan, it was my freshman year seminar entitled, “Language and Humor.” The paper I chose to repurpose focused around the comedy in being overweight, but for the purpose of my project I’ve decided to examine humor more broadly. While my original piece focused on factors (weight) and how that influenced the effect of humor, my repurposing project will focus on how humor influences different parts of my generation’s life.

In examining different genres discussing my topic, I focus on two very different publications. The first being a respected magazine, TIME and the second being what I plan on modeling my repurposing project after, the millennial-focused, blogging-style, digital publication: Elite Daily. Both of these drastically different genres have pieces that discuss my topic of interest in very different ways. Looking first to the TIME magazine article entitled, “Why the Funniest People Are Sometimes the Saddest” the article profiles the struggles of Robin Williams, and it discusses the darkness he dealt with, and how that darkness made him a great comedian. This article was published right after his death, and it’s exigence is pretty clear in that it was the perfect way to explain to the public why it would seem that someone so “happy” could do something so dark and depressing. The article itself isn’t confusing or condescending. It doesn’t use fancy psychological terms, or address things most people wouldn’t understand. It’s very digestible, and seems like it genuinely wants to try to address how comedy comes from darkness, thus providing some explanation for Williams’s actions. That being said, the audience is far-reaching and pretty general, it could be anyone from the age of 12-70+ who wants to understand more about the psychology of comedians or who was perhaps a fan of Williams.

Courtesy of giphy.com

Looking at a drastically different genre, Elite Daily published an article entitled, “9 Reasons Why You Should Date a Girl Who Makes You Laugh.” The article provides a listicle of 9 reasons, based off of the experience and opinion of the author, of which he describes why men should date girls who make them laugh. This type of genre is much different from the TIME profile in that it includes the author’s experience, so the author’s voice is entirely present. The exigence for this article is based off of the idea that this publication was created as they refer to themselves, “the voice for generation Y.” It provides a spot for millenials to better understand themselves. In order to understand aspects of dating life, this article gives the targeted audience a perfect way to relate and further understand their wants and needs in relationships.

After looking at these two drastically different publications, I’ve realized that I can go a couple of routes with my repurposing project. That being said, I’ve chosen to go with Elite Daily, but the way I’ve chosen to do it encompasses more than just listicles based off of my personal experience. I’ve decided to compose articles based off of the site, but for two different sections, “Life” and “Dating.” In the “Life” section, many of the articles address issues that require research and background, while in the “Dating” section, it’s mostly personal experience and experience of others in the author’s life. Because I’ve decided to write pieces dealing with humor for both sections, I feel I’ll be able to paint a more comprehensive view of the Elite Daily publication, as well as examine humor from both the psychological perspective and the more personal perspective.

 

if i had the time

By the Huron River
The Huron River is one of my most favorite–and peaceful–places on campus.

Too many things exist in this world that I want to see, do, and experience, and yet, I seem to never have the time. While having to listen to an episode of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour for my Syntax of Sports class, I couldn’t help but think about how I wanted to become a regular listener of the show, as well as sample many of the options on NPR’s site for podcast and others in the iTunes store or online. This caused me to spiral into a thinking storm about everything else I always want to do but can never get around to do them because life gets in the way. Our hours are tied up in school, work, clubs, and engaging with our family and friends. When we stumble upon free time, it usually goes towards catching up on sleep or de-stressing through whatever means necessary.

If I had the time, I would want to frolic in the Arb almost every day, or at least hold frequent picnics and runs in what I like to think as Ann Arbor’s forest. During warmer times, the Arb is a place free from air air pollution, the hustle and bustle of campus and generally, most people. The steps that lead into the Huron River is my favorite place to hang out within city limits. A close second is the meadow area, vast green open space where frisbees fly freely, kids act as kids, and the occasional lovers embrace each other under the shade of a large tree on a hot day. I spent many summer afternoons there last year tanning, reading, and feeling careless on my blanket I always carried around me. I also got used to taking power naps outside, something I never really embraced until last year either.

If I had the time, I would vary the places and topics in which I expanded my mind more. I’ve always wanted to spend an afternoon just reading a novel for pleasure in the Reading Room of the Law Library. I’ve also wanted to re-familiarize myself with the very particular rules of major sports so that when I watch them I know what’s going on at any given time and can speak intelligently about it. Also, I want to watch more sports documentaries and live of the great stories of our time. While I’ve watched over twenty of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, there’s so much more sports history to explore.

If I had the time, I would binge watch successful shows like The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, which until today I have not seen a single minute of. Also, I would watch Academy Awards winners of years past and explore the stories of brilliant cinema throughout time. Then I would re-watch my ultimate favorites more, movies that can make me smile no matter how contrary I may be feeling otherwise.

If I had the time, I would practice activities where I lack good skills, like swimming. Swimming at the Bell Pool in the CCRB is something I do more when in the summer where scheduling an hour swim in my day won’t intrude on other obligations. As someone who only learned to swim when I was a freshman in high school, I still can’t do a regular freestyle stroke and opt for a modified side stroke to awkwardly flow through the water. It feels good and gets my heart pumping, even though it takes me about 50 minutes to swim a mile. I always wanted to swim properly, and would put forth the time required to reach that goal—if I had it.

If I had the time, I would also play the piano more and reignite the mastery I had with it when I played for six years in my youth. If I had the time, I would go on bike rides to nowhere more often, intentionally getting lost so that I may find my way back again and just enjoy the ride. I could go on and on about all the things I would do if I had the time. Hopefully these ideas and dreams can turn into stories of using my time how I’ve always wanted to use it. It’s just a matter of when that will be.

So, y’all, what would you do if you had the time?

 

Challenge For You- Taking for Granted.

College is really tough. I think we can all agree on this one. There’s a million things to do and never enough time.

But it’s time has become a real issue for me lately. It’s really starting to set in that I only have 2 years left here; that half of my journey at this University, with these people, is half way over. [Part of this impending doom feeling is probably coming from the fact that I’m exiting teen-hood in 2 months and turning 20 on November 25th… but regardless, it’s stressful.]

Last week an advisor at my work announced that he had accepted a position, at OSU of all places, and that he would be leaving us. Now, before I get started here, I am very happy for him. It’s been his dream job forever and he’s finally got an opportunity to take his life by storm. But change has never been something I’m good at. And then he dropped that he’s leaving this Friday. He gave us just over a weeks heads up. It really tore me up because he’s been in the office since I started here as a Freshman in 2011. I always looked to him for a smile and for encouragement.

However, the situation made me also realize that a lot of people I’ve met here are gone. They graduated or got better jobs and now they’re out doing amazing things around not only this state, but around the country. Although it really sucks to have people you get attached to seeing every day leave like that, deep down you know that’s just life and you move on. But now, I’ve been thinking that’s a boring way to look at it.

So here is a quote from me to you that this advisor who is leaving for OSU on Friday inspired me to create and live out every day without knowing it until now:

“People are placed in your life for a reason whether you know it or not. Take something from each of them, but give something of yourself as well. Even if it’s only a smile.”

I would like to challenge you to see the reason for the people in your life and to stop taking those people for granted.

Haunted Bell Tower. Staff shot. Event presented by CCI on North Campus each October.
Haunted Bell Tower. Staff shot. Event presented by CCI on North Campus each October.

Say What You Mean. Mean What You Say.

 

“So, what are you trying to say?”

This phase has been uttered far too many times in the history of phase uttering. Why can’t everyone just understand what everyone else means? (Do you understand?) What’s wrong with a little clarity in our lives? And besides, mystery is SO overrated.

But what if all the misunderstanding is due to our reading inadequacies? Christina Haas and Linda Flower make a case for the weight of “rhetorical reading” and, in turn, meaning construction (“Rhetorical Reading Strategies and the Construction of Meaning,” 1988).  The piece addresses rhetoric from the lens of the reader, the person whose eyes stream across the page picking up language and turning it into meaning. The authors argue that the way in which readers read varies across experience levels as they employ techniques to make that meaning. They also claim that a reader must read for purpose, motivation, intended audience and a foundation of deeper understanding as opposed for “merely an information exchange.”

We’ve been drilled through grade school, almost as if our hands write and our eyes read like puppets on the end of an instructor’s string. What’s really interesting is that our minds are the true pieces of value, according to the authors. It’s what we believe and interpret that’s important, not simply what we see and regurgitate.

Frankly, I’ve never been so meta with my own meaning making before. I would never think twice when constructing my thoughts on a Boxcar Children chapter book, TIME column, E:60 short documentary, etc. Was I thinking original thoughts or thoughts that the author intended me to think? Was it me they were targeting or was I a new sector of audience intruding with interpretation? I don’t have any answers, but I do have a new perspective from which to view.

So, do you get what I’m trying to say?