Oh Joy: A (Personal) Essay on Folk Aesthetics and Motivation

Ian Brodie (Cape Breton University)

While folklore arises in part from “the creative vernacular response of humans on their most gregarious occasions” (Abrahams), the impetuses of fun, joy, and playful communion are often glossed over by the folklorist in favour of issues of meaning and import, as if to assert that they are ancillary to, rather than a rationale for, expressive culture. As I struggle with moving past functional discussions of stand-up comedy while, simultaneously and contrariwise, working through depressive tendencies that block my explanations for the ongoing appeal of custom and festival, I reflect on joy as both a hermeneutic principle and an endpoint.

Part of 04-15 Joy, Jokes, and Amusement, Friday, November 03, 8:30 am–10:00 am