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Philosophy Cafe - Cafe Philosophique Message Board › Kenneth Burke & Bakhtin: satire as a subset of comedy

Kenneth Burke & Bakhtin: satire as a subset of comedy

Chris W.
Albany, CA
Post #: 18
Under Files: I uploaded an article by Beth Bonnstetter that provides a good intro to Kenneth Burke's frames of acceptance/rejection (from his Attitudes toward history) using Mel Brook's Blazing Saddles.

[Disclaimer: All of this is hastily pulled together this morning and therefore is not an in depth study but more a pulling together of bits and pieces from past knowledge using the framework of Bonnstetter's article].

In ways that recall Goffman, Burke calls his frames of acceptance/rejection as ways that we see a situation (an "act" in Burke's dramatism). Burke's "poetic categories" for frames of acceptance {epic, tragedy, comedy} and frames of rejection {satire, burlesque, grotesque, elegy, and didactic}. Bonnstetter also uses Bahktin's notion of carnivale [from Rabelais and his world] where "all are considered equal" a kind of temporary suspension of social hierarchy.

Although I didn't have time to read Bergson I thought Burke & Bahktin's ideas could provide a useful framework to engage with Bergson. The contemporary satire such as Spike Lee's Bamboozled (2000) and Larry Charles' Borat (2006) co-written & starring Sascha Baron Cohen also offer fruitful films for discussing satire.

Although satire is only a subset of the comic, since it intensives human situations (Burkean acts), it can often use this magnification as a way of clarifying understanding.
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