Harrison Middleton University
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Tag: Comedy

We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.


July 12, 2024

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Laughter is a tricky business. In fact, it’s never a sure thing. What makes one person laugh may offend someone else. I have seen this happen on a number of occasions when some of the audience at a comedy club get so disgusted that they walk out. Comedy is edgy, thorny, and sometimes uncomfortable. This type of laughter pushes our boundaries.

 » Read more about: Why We Laugh  »

Dore Rabelais Physeter

June 23, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

To all the “honest drinkers” – as Rabelais would have it – congratulations! We made it to the final post in this series on Rabelais. Hopefully the various connections have enriched your experience of what is often considered difficult reading. Today’s blog concludes with Book Four, which means that it is up to you to make modern-day connections for Book V.

 » Read more about: Reading Rabelais, Part IV  »

June 16, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

For me, reading Rabelais was slow going. Crawling through the text, however, brought moments of joy as I saw strains of other, later works. The past few blogs attempted to highlight some of those connections as a way to bridge the gap between Rabelais and contemporary students. I’m not sure what the best way might be to introduce students to his work,

 » Read more about: Reading Rabelais, Part III  »

June 9, 2023

Thanks to Chad Greene, a 2023 Fellow in Ideas recipient, for today’s blog.

Depending on your concentrations, perhaps you have read enough about probability and statistics to dissuade you from playing the types of lotteries states tend to sponsor, such as MegaMillions or Powerball. But, in my own reading of one of the Great Books this spring, I have discovered a delightful lottery that I encourage all lovers of epic poetry to try out.

 » Read more about: Have a Difficult Decision to Make? Have a Copy of Virgil or Homer Handy?  »

June 2, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Last week’s blog (https://hmu.edu/2023-5-26-reading-rabelais-part-ii/) concluded with a suggested connection between Book Two of Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel and Monty Python skits. We cannot stop at the end of Book Two, however. Moving into Book Three, we find a lengthy discussion between Pantagruel and Panurge about the pros and cons of marriage. Panurge wants to know whether or not he should marry.

 » Read more about: Considering the Cuckold, Rabelais Continued  »

May 19, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

I remember my first experience with Chaucer. At the age of fifteen or sixteen, I tried reading his stories in the original Middle English and was very disoriented. Of course, I had a lot of footnotes to rely on, but these also overwhelmed my slim teenage patience. I remember wondering why we still read this book. It seemed so ancient.

 » Read more about: Reading Rabelais, Part I  »

December 17, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Schumann’s “Humoreske
Dvorzak’s “Humoresques

Schumann’s “Humoreske” involves all emotions – sometimes more than one at a time. It wonderfully demonstrates humor’s power to draw from all emotions. Likewise, Dvorzak moves from one emotion to the next without pause. Dvorzak’s music has some consistency which makes me think of the emotions which hover just under humor’s surface for longer spaces of time.

 » Read more about: Humoresque: Reading Comedy  »

October 8, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

During the 90s, Seinfeld garnered a huge viewership. In an attempt to bring the classics to the present, our recent Quarterly Discussion drew connections between Seinfeld and Aristotle’s Poetics. We also tried to discover keys to the sitcom’s great appeal. Considering the characters’ petty, stubborn behavior, what exactly did viewers identify with?

 » Read more about: Classics in a Contemporary World  »

October 1, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Aristotle’s Poetics begins with a separation of art forms, such as literature, music, dance, and theater. He calls these imitative forms and says, “the imitation is produced by rhythm, language, or ‘harmony,’ either singly or combined.” The idea of harmony intrigues me, especially with regards to written or dramatic work. In what way(s) might a play attain harmony?

 » Read more about: Aristotle’s Poetics Meets Seinfeld  »

May 3, 2019

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Last week, I had the opportunity to discuss Molière’s play Tartuffe in a couple of Quarterly Discussions. First of all, I have to admit that I love this play, so my notes may not be altogether unbiased. Having said that, I think that an interesting place to begin is with ideas of power as represented in the play.

 » Read more about: Discussing Tartuffe  »

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