Preface: Laugh and the world laughs with you: tickling people’s (transcultural) fancy: Delia Chiaro
Laugh and the world laughs with you: tickling people’s (transcultural) fancy
At the turn of the twenty-first century the subject of humour and matters that relate to it such as smiling, laughter and positive well-being in general, have become a popular topic in the media. Naturally, such interests spring from research in academia disseminated in scientific journals – technical papers the contents of which slowly filter down to the press, TV and other media and thereby made accessible to the general public. Yet, it is not only departments of medicine, psychology, philosophy, anthropology and linguistics, traditionally occupied with Humour Studies that are attracting public interest. Today even the more mathematical social sciences such as economics have discovered the importance of humour, with scholars such as Bruno Frey applying economic methods to explore the concept of happiness (Frey, 2002).
Nonetheless, leaving aside the trend in public interest for all that is positive in terms of health and wellbeing that urges people to adopt a lifestyle which includes a series of positive actions and much laughter/smiling/joking etc. it is worth bearing in mind that verbal humour is no longer restricted to the gags of comedians, naturally occurring conversation, literature and printed collections of jokes. Verbally expressed humour travels across the planet in real time not only by means of traditional media such as film, television and video-games, but possibly, and above all, through e-mail, social media, blogs and all that is transmitted...