Humor and Docs 3

I'm not saying that my thoughts here are particularly insightful, I'm just saying that this site at Interntional Centre for Documentary and Experimental Film, DocWest, at University of Westminster is linking to my blog. And of course to Filmkommentaren and a lot of other interesting stuff. Check them out!

So, what else have I been up too lately - besides googling myself?

I just came home from beautiful Scotland where I found time to ponder over my recurring theme about humor and documentaries - and how "real" humor that comes out of and exists in reality differs from scripted and performed humor (like stand-up, comedy feature films and so on). Just before I left, I read an article by Thomas Raab in "Tidsskrift for Sprogforskning" (a linguistic magazine from Univesity of Aarhus, Denmark) where he conveys the information that German philosopher Schopenhauer in The World as Will and Representation wrote about the relation between language and humor (I must take Raab's word for it because I haven't read it myself). Raab concludes in that respect that the most important element of humor is "the relativization between language and reality".

This just to tell you that I (in my mind) now have Schopenhauers permission to use humor in documentaries! But of course he wasn't a barrel of laughs himself, and he apperently didn't say too much about how this relationship between humor and reality should work. So maybe we should look at something concrete to get moving.

A SCENE FROM A HOTEL IN EDINBURGH:
When me and my wife entered the breakfast restaurant on the first morning, the young waitress asked us to make sure that we were at liberty to have a bowl of porridge and some black pudding:
 - "Can I have you room number?"
I got a strong impulse to say something like:
 - "Shhh, my wife is standing right there!"


Edinburgh City Hotel in late May
Now, this would have been funny and be a case of here-and-now-humor that somewhat expanded the reality of having breakfast in a hotel (bear with me and just pretend this is an important scene from a documentary), IF I said it in a comically loud Homer Simpson-whisper while pointing deliberately secretive towards Mrs. S, and if both the waitress and my wife had heard it - and maybe some by-standers.

IF, on the other hand, only the waitress would hear the remark, the situation would have been completely different. It wouldn't say anything about our "documentary scene" or enlarge or expand anything. It would simply imply:
A: That the waitress is a prostitute
and/or
B: That I found myself incredibly desirable to a girl half my age.

Now, that COULD have been funny, was the "scene" about me and not about having breakfast at a hotel, so I guess this only goes to show that ... erhm... something about humor and reality. Thus, I can now hear Schopenhauer turn slightly over in his grave while Centre for Production and Research of Documentary Film at University of Westminster are taking down their link.

PS. In the end I didn't say anything but: "Room 405", and to tell you the truth I only thought of the remark halfway through my oatmeal. Damn.

Humor and Docs 1
Humor and Docs 2

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