Revolutionary Jokes

As scholars begin to tease out many of the factors in the Egyptian revolution and beyond, it needs emphasized that once again the affective dimensions of such struggles should not remain excluded from our analyses. Anna Sussman has an interesting article in The Atlantic demonstrating some of the ways that irony, satire, and other seriocomic forms were used to create solidarity and propel citizen mobilizations in Egypt.

Protestors held signs in Tahrir square imploring “Leave, my arm hurts” and “Leave, I want to shower/see my wife/shave/get married.” Of particular note is the way in which administration appeals were used as material for comic fodder. I think that the existence of such discourses in these matters continues to demonstrate two points about the role of humor in politics: a) it still remains highly undertheorized in a way that is no longer adequate for present conditions, and more so, b) that in everyday practice, it blends with a variety of other ways of communicating to create interactional effects larger than the sum of their parts.