“Fruit of the Boom”

The hideous absurdities of our current situation vis a vis Islamic terrorism have liberated Rick Darby’s sense of humor. (Or do I mean his wit? I saw the excellent French movie Ridicule years ago that was about the difference between humor and wit, but at the moment I forget what it is.)

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Sage McLaughlin writes:

I asked my good friend Alexander Pope what he thought of your question (about the different between wit and humor), and he replied that, “True wit is nature to advantage dressed, what oft was thought but ne’er so well expressed.”

I hope this helps. :)

LA replies:

Pope is using wit in the sense of a perceptive intelligence, especially involving the use of words.

But I was thinking of the difference between wit and humor. Wit is sharper, more intellectual, often involving word play. Humor is broader, more jolly.

December 30

Rick U. writes:

I can hardly wait for the “Fruit of the Boom” Commission to investigate the Christmas Day near man-made disaster.

RWM writes:

I’m intrigued about the French movie Ridicule you mentioned in passing in your post on “Fruit of the Boom.” On the distinction between humor and wit, it seems to me that wit involves surprise or, as Cicero said, when we are “disappointed in our expectations [as to meaning]” and laughter ensues as a physical reaction. Humor can be devoid of all wit. It can be an amusing story which excites no laughter.

The quote from Cicero is from De Oratore. There is an involved discussion of wit and humor with many funny illustrations and historical examples beginning on page 289.

LA replies:

Well, I was thinking of humor that makes us laugh.

There’s a simpler way of explaining the difference between wit and humor. It’s in the last scene of Ridicule. I just can’t articulate it well at the moment.

LA continues:

The ideas was this. Wit (the kind of wit used in the French court in the movie) is biting and cutting, used to put people down. Humor is jolly and expansive.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 29, 2009 04:18 PM | Send

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