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Culture

New Atheism's Gender Problems

Can critical humorists help combat the sexism inherent to both religious and secular organizations?

Recent
Culture

Why, After All These Years, Are We Still Speaking in Sein Language?

Just like with hip-hop, Seinfeld has broadened our collective slang and everyday rhetorical wit.

Television

One Nation, Divided by Humor

We may be one nation in America, but today we appear to be living on different planets.

Politics

Can We Say the F Word Yet? On Fascism and Humor

In light of the decrees and executive orders signed thus far by Donald Trump, we might reasonably ask: is fascism relevant to America's current political state?

Politics

Believe Me! Trumpism and the Messianic Impulse

Mario Cuomo once said that candidates campaign in poetry then govern in prose; Trump’s utterances, however, might better be characterized as speaking in tongues.

Science

Richard Dawkins and the Need for a New Science Populism

Now, more than ever, public intellectual scientists like Dawkins are needed to counter the forces of faith, fiction, and farce dominating our so-called “post-fact” society.

Science

Nutty Professors? The Case for Scientist-Humorists in the Culture Wars

It's time for the personalities of the science community to emerge from their labs and to get into the ring.

Politics

Can Satire Bring Down Donald Trump?

Michael Moore calls for humorists everywhere to satirize Donald Trump, but what if our best satire simply cannot (yes, we'll say it) "trump" reality?

Politics

Who's Better Than Mark Twain at Bible-bashing?

Sounding more like Christopher Hitchens than a lapsed Presbyterian from the 19th century, Mark Twain rips apart Testaments Old and New.

Politics

Kurt Vonnegut: Our Reluctant, Agnostic, Hippy Guru

Vonnegut's timeless stories challenge the assumptions, institutions, and ideologies that so delimit critical thinking and open-mindedness.

Music

What Does Randy Newman Say When He Talks With God?

One of the less celebrated satirists of religion, a study of some of Randy Newman's key songs reveals a subtle subversive at work.

Culture

The Gospel According to Ricky Gervais (in 140 Characters or Less)

One of today's most accomplished and revered comedic minds has jettisoned himself onto the frontlines of the culture wars where he wittily battles on behalf of humanism, reason, and secularism.

Television

Bill Maher and the Perils of the Commentator-Comedian

To offend is inevitable for the socio-political commentator-comedian, and to suffer the slings and arrows of backlash should be equally expected.

Culture

George Carlin: Philosopher, Poet, Preacher

Few comedians have aimed for the mind over the funny bone (while still reaching both) quite like George Carlin has.

Politics

Before Charlie Hebdo: The Cartoon Wars

Why is it that cartoons, more than any other expressive form, have incited the wrath of religious backlash?

Performing Arts

Diss-Illusioned! Magic and the Supernatural

A new breed of magicians are self-consciously aware that their toolbox of trickery enables them to wield the potential power to affect beliefs—and thus behavior.

Politics

Weapons Drawn! Perspectives on Charlie Hebdo

Questioning cartoons, satire, and the role of the media after the Charlie Hebdo assassinations.

Politics

Antitheism and the Art of the "Hitch Slap"

Before Bill Maher became the demon-du-jour for his satirical scorn of religion, Christopher Hitchens led the charge of rhetorical antitheism.

Performing Arts

The Commandments of Lenny Bruce

Lenny Bruce made the stage his pulpit, the audience his parishioners, and stand-up the sermons for his alternative secular faith.

Culture

Mr. Mencken Went to Dayton and the Culture Wars Began

Long before Christopher Hitchens and Bill Maher, H.L. Mencken was America's most notorious satirist of religion. And thus began the battle for the soul of America.

Music

The Fascination with Fundamentalism in Hardcore Punk

Some bands echoed the Dead Kennedys' anti-Moral Majority messages; others embodied right-wing religion.

Science

A User's Guide to Parody Religions: Churches of the SubGenius & the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Our prophet explains that we may know what gravity is, but we don't know the cause of it, thus, “What if it is He, pushing us down with His Noodly Appendages, that causes this force?”

Politics

A User's Guide to Parody Religions: Dudeism, Invisible Pink Unicorns, and Americhrist Ltd.

Plotting exposure, parody seeks to unveil rather than to mask, to offer truths where it finds lies, deceit, or hypocrisy. So why has religion proven particularly prone to this means of comedic put-down?

Film

Monty Python vs. the Religious Right

The Life of Brian tells us much about a period when disparate cultural values were battled over in a dramatic tug-of-war on the frontlines of society -- and for Monty Python, the threat of prison loomed.

Music

Pussy Riot and the Art of Political Pranks

Why has the West taken such interest in Pussy Riot? Would our reactions be so different if a similar incident occurred in one of our major cathedrals, synagogues, or mosques?

Politics

Family Guy's Sunday Services

Whereas The Simpsons makes an effort to balance its religious satire with pro-spiritual representations, Family Guy largely regards organized faith as wholly corrupt and its believers as dupes and dopes.

Politics

Is 'The Simpsons' TV's Most Sacred Show?

The Simpsons has always taken topical roads less traveled and nowhere is this more apparent than in its regular engagement of personal, institutional, and social issues surrounding religion.

Politics

Comics-in-Chief: Laughing With (and At) the Presidents -- The Scathing Slice of the Satirical Edge

When America chose Nixon over Paulsen at the polls, it ushered in a president that many consider one of the most humor-challenged in modern history.

Politics

Comics-in-Chief: Laughing With (and At) the Presidents - The Watershed Moment of Political Humor

Never before JFK had a president employed humor so concertedly, nor had it used against him so openly.

Politics

Comics-in-Chief: Laughing With (and At) the Presidents - The Growth of Democracy & the Flow of Humor

“Greatest” and “worst” president surveys continue to reveal what is surely not just a coincidence: we have always and still continue to revere our wits in the White House.

Television

Political Humor and Its Diss Contents

Political humor brings a lot of joy and laughter into our often humdrum lives, but is our national laugh fest a good thing for the nation at large?

Politics

Stand-Up! America’s Dissenting Tradition Part 3: The Bills of Rights, Hicks & Maher

Two sides of the same coin, Bill Hicks and Bill Maher are comedic patriots; leave (their country) they will not, nor will they leave it alone, for they persist at picking at their nation’s open sores of injustice, hypocrisy, and superficiality.

Performing Arts

Stand-Up! America’s Dissenting Tradition Part 2: Transformers George Carlin & Richard Pryor

Whereas Richard Pryor used autobiography for his comedy of social dissent, George Carlin aimed his critical lens outwards, to reflect upon a world of greed and self-delusion.

Performing Arts

Stand-Up! America’s Dissenting Tradition Part 1: Trailblazers Mort Sahl & Lenny Bruce

Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce were more than just maverick dissenters; they were the founding fathers of what would later coalesce under the umbrella of the “counter-culture”.

Politics

Humor vs. Religion: An Unholy War. Part Two: Dispatches From the Front Lines

For comedians like Ricky Gervais, Bill Maher and others, the non-rational beliefs and behaviors that religion fosters are, from a “material” perspective, manna from heaven.

Politics

Humor vs. Religion: An Unholy War, Part One

Even within the US, where democracy and political openness have fostered a rich tradition of rebellious humor, stains still linger from those periods when “God-is-on-our-side” attitudes swept the nation into a mass hysteria of obedience and fear.

Sports

Football Humor, Like the Game Itself, Is about Attack, Defense, and then Counter-Attack

No city in England “enjoys” such an entrenched, venomous, and savage sports rivalry as Manchester does with City and United. It's no wonder that a recent survey found Manchester to be the “rudest city in the world”.


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