I can’t tell a joke to save my soul. (Too earnest, I think.) But I do recognize and appreciate the power of a funny story and I’m wondering … can humour help us to build public awareness, mitigation and resilience in response to climate change?
Al Franken and David Letterman do just that in the video series, Boiling the Frog. Here’s Epsiode 1, in which Franken compares climate change to a visit to the doctor.
Could we use satirical or other types of humour in museums? DO we use this tool to get our messages across? Let’s hear from you in the Reply section below.
I’m no expert on this topic but to assist your thinking, a few very useful resources:
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Museum: Using Humor to Communicate (Jackie Littleton in The Docent Educator Spring 1996 Vol 5 #3: 18-19)
What’s So Funny? Humour in Museums (Museum 2.0 Blog, August 16, 2007)
Humor Me A Moment: The Power of Humor in Museums (ExhibiTricks Blog, July 20, 2016)
Let’s hear from you!
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I love satire, but I feel that it’s one of those things that people either love and find hilarious (and understand the important underlying messages) or it rather goes over their heads. So while I personally think using satire in museums could be a great tool (in moderation), I wonder how many people would ‘get it’?
Having said that, humour in general is a very great tool. People who laugh at something are more likely to remember it and to share it with others. That’s rather what we want from museum visitors. But I think it’s a fine line, and it would be hard for people to figure out how to walk it in order to create a successful museum exhibit (for example) that people readily understood, appreciated the use of humour, and weren’t offended.
Having said THAT, I have taken the approach to life this year that if I’m not laughing, I’m crying. And crying isn’t going to make the world a better place, but laughing just might. If we can find the humour in even the most dire things (like death), then why can’t we find it in difficult topics like climate change? I’m just not the best person to make the jokes!