Rebellious Laughter changes the way we think about the ordinary joke. Claiming that humor in America is a primary cultural weapon, Boskin surveys the multitude of joke cycles that have swept the country during the last fifty years. Dumb Blonde jokes. Elephant jokes. Jewish-American Princess jokes. Lightbulb jokes.
Readers will enjoy humor from many diverse sources: whites, blacks, women, and Hispanics; conservatives and liberals; public workers and university students; the powerless and power brokers. Boskin argues that jokes provide a cultural barometer of concerns and anxieties, frequently appearing in our day-to-day language long before these issues become grist for stand-up comics.
Joseph Boskin, professor of history and African American studies at Boston University, is also the director of its Urban Studies and Public Policy Program. His previous books include Into Slavery: Racial Decisions in the Virginia Colony, Seasons of Rebellion: Protest and Radicalism in Recent America (coedited), and Sambo: The Rise and Demise of an American Jester.