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28 posts tagged with humor and history. (View popular tags)
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Cages, craniums, and giant scary eyes

Psychiatric magazine ads from the seventies.
posted by Iridic on Jul 28, 2014 - 27 comments

Odd leaves from the life of a Louisiana "swamp doctor" (circa 1850)

One of the most intriguing personalities in Southern medical history of the nineteenth century is Dr. Henry Clay Lewis (1825-1850), whose fame rests not on his accomplishments in medicine, but upon his humorous writings published under the pseudonym "Madison Tensas, M.D., the Louisiana Swamp Doctor." Though Lewis was a practicing doctor, his true identity as the author of the "Southern grotesque" (previously) pieces was not known until after his death. His works pre-dated the Southern Gothic style (prev), and are unusual for their time in that "[Lewis] presents his black characters with as much pain and grotesqueness as his white characters, steering away from the time's usual stereotypes." You can read a longer biography and a summary of his style here, or just dive in and read his works, which available online in Odd leaves from the life of a Louisiana "swamp doctor", which was also published as The swamp doctor's adventures in the South-west (also available with fourteen illustrations) on Archive.org.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 20, 2014 - 6 comments

Chuckchi Jokes

Anyone familiar with the contemporary Russian humorous folklore (jokelore, or in Russian anekdoty) knows that one of the most popular series of such jokes revolves around the Chukchis, the native people of Chukotka, the most remote northeast corner of Russia. These jokes, especially popular in 1990s and 2000s, fit the international genre of ethnic stupidity jokes . . .
posted by jason's_planet on Nov 10, 2012 - 17 comments

Every Year of the Twentieth Century, Lampooned by the Onion

The Onion's great for a witty skewering of current events. But its historical editions, as collected in the book Our Dumb Century, are a gem all their own, full of razor-sharp satire, trenchant social commentary, period-accurate advertisements, running gags, historical irony, photoshoppery, and even some editorial cartoons for every year of the twentieth century. Luckily for history (and humor) buffs, nearly the whole run of the series is available piecemeal on their website. Click inside for an organized timeline of links to all the front pages from this brilliant work (plus a bonus!). [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 25, 2012 - 52 comments

Don't Swap Horses Midstream

Lincoln1864.com: Paid for by Lincoln for the Union.
posted by Cash4Lead on Oct 14, 2012 - 14 comments

...this symmetric aperture is called the "fenetre de breeze", roughly translated meaning the "zephyr window".

The Great Crepitation Contest of 1946 [mp3 at bottom] lingers on in the memories of record collectors, radio historians, and a generation of post-war vulgarians from Dr. Demento to Howard Stern. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's vivid recording of the contest (conceived at a company stag party) inspired legions of LP cover artists: an early public airing was encased in a sleeve designed by one of the earliest proponents of the illustrated album cover. Later editions were adorned with shockingly detailed renditions of the Great Contest, created by a variety of anonymous geniuses. (Speaking of art, it was also a rumored favorite of Salvador Dali). Though it has inspired various lurid myths, we've learned a little bit about the deepest roots of the contest right here on Metafilter. [more inside]
posted by bubukaba on Apr 24, 2012 - 14 comments

You shall Hear things, Wonderful to tell

A decade on, the Coen brothers' woefully underrated O Brother, Where Art Thou? [alt] is remembered for a lot of things: its sun-drenched, sepia-rich cinematography (a pioneer of digital color grading), its whimsical humor, fluid vernacular, and many subtle references to Homer's Odyssey. But one part of its legacy truly stands out: the music. Assembled by T-Bone Burnett, the soundtrack is a cornucopia of American folk music, exhibiting everything from cheery ballads and angelic hymns to wistful blues and chain-gang anthems. Woven into the plot of the film through radio and live performances, the songs lent the story a heartfelt, homespun feel that echoed its cultural heritage, a paean and uchronia of the Old South. Though the multiplatinum album was recently reissued, the movie's medley is best heard via famed documentarian D. A. Pennebaker's Down from the Mountain, an extraordinary yet intimate concert film focused on a night of live music by the soundtrack's stars (among them Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Chris Thomas King, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley) and wryly hosted by John Hartford, an accomplished fiddler, riverboat captain, and raconteur whose struggle with terminal cancer made this his last major performance. The film is free in its entirety on Hulu and YouTube -- click inside for individual clips, song links, and breakdowns of the set list's fascinating history. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 22, 2011 - 107 comments

How Computers Work

How Computers Work. Recently recovered & scanned in by the good folks at BoingBoing, this was an early textbook explaining the fundamental concepts & inner workings of modern computing systems. I believe a slightly different edition of this book was my own introduction to computers when I was in 6th grade or so, which explains a lot about my approach to using them.
posted by scalefree on Dec 22, 2011 - 44 comments

The Cartoon Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 6, 2011 - 29 comments

We fear he is not a Patriotic Dog

Eugene Field's Complete Tribune Primer (with illustrations). Best known for Wynken, Blynken and Nod, Field has some words of advice for young people. [more inside]
posted by klangklangston on Oct 11, 2010 - 5 comments

The Tiger Mike Memos

Edward Mike Davis was the owner or Tiger Oil, an oil company operating in Houston during the 1970's. His irascible memos have been an Internet sensation for the past few years. Good things are not meant to last forever, and in 1980, Tiger Oil filed bankruptcy. Davis' hatred of people did not confine itself to the office, as this case shows. Tiger Oil was in litigation in relation to the bankruptcy filing as late as 1989.
posted by reenum on Aug 3, 2010 - 45 comments

"Darn! One of our editors is dead."

Diseased Pariah News started in 1990 as "a patently offensive publication of, by, and for people with HIV disease (and their friends and loved ones). We are a forum for infected people to share their thoughts, feelings, art, writing and brownie recipes in an atmosphere free of teddy bears, magic rocks, and seronegative guilt." It ran for 11 issues over the next 9 years, 8 of which can be found here. (NSFW, irritating interface) [more inside]
posted by GenjiandProust on May 6, 2010 - 4 comments

Coffee and Other Important Matters

15 Things Worth Knowing About Coffee. 17 Things Worth Knowing About Your Cat. The MotherF**king Pterodactyl. These and various other amusements courtesy of The Oatmeal.
posted by brain_drain on Nov 18, 2009 - 30 comments

I Wouldn't Recommend Eating the Cookies at this 12 Step Meeting

Polio: A Virus’ Struggle is a Graphic Novella by James Weldon. When we eradicate a disease, do we ever think about how it may effect the disease? Learn all about the history of Poliomyelitis, as he tells his story to the group.
posted by vertigo25 on Apr 12, 2009 - 16 comments

Hark, A Vagrant!

Kate Beaton, Historical Cartoonist
posted by flatluigi on Mar 13, 2009 - 70 comments

So's your mother!

History's greatest replies. Any attempt to compile history's greatest replies—or history's greatest anything, for that matter—is fraught with difficulty, so it might be more accurate to refer to the replies that follow as simply my all-time favorites.
posted by psmealey on Mar 3, 2008 - 67 comments

History, writ Gangsta

The 5 Most Badass U.S. Presidents of All-Time. Just in time for Presidents' Day weekend. In ascending order of badassitude: Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy, John Quincy Adams, George Washington and your number 1, Theodore Roosevelt. [more inside]
posted by psmealey on Feb 15, 2008 - 65 comments

Great Caricatures: History, Art & Humor

Great Caricatures.
posted by Effigy2000 on Aug 1, 2007 - 7 comments

A House full of insults: an informal look at the history of parliamentary put-downs

A House full of insults is an informal look at the history of parliamentary put-downs and their inconsistent consequences in Britain's House of Commons.
posted by nthdegx on Dec 11, 2005 - 22 comments

Invention Pioneers of Note

History of the Flame-broiled Burger! It's Flashy, it's Trashy, it's satirical, it's Fun-- it's The History Channel's Invention Pioneers of Note!
posted by Devils Rancher on Jul 6, 2005 - 4 comments

well, they were a big hit at Plato's Laugh Shack

A man, just back from a trip abroad, went to an incompetent fortune-teller. He asked about his family, and the fortune-teller replied: "Everyone is fine, especially your father." When the man objected that his father had been dead for ten years, the reply came: "You have no clue who your real father is."--that's one of the jokes from The Laughter Lover (Philogelos), an ancient Greek joke book published in the 4th or 5th century AD. The New Yorker commented on it, and other old jokes here, stating about one of the possible authors: ... there is some scholarly speculation that the Hierocles in question was a fifth-century Alexandrian philosopher of that name who was once publicly flogged in Constantinople for paganism, which, as one classicist has observed, “might have given him a taste for mordant wit.”
posted by amberglow on Jul 10, 2004 - 12 comments

The world of double entendre

The recent post that revived the rude ‘Rainbow’ kids show sketch reminded me of the our (that is, British) obsession with comic double entendre - the ability to accept the filthiest things as long as there is a parallel innocuous interpretation. I think it is something to do our love for wordplay and subtext, our innate hypocrisy and the belief that sex is, in fact, rather naughty. Perhaps the prime example are the Julian and Sandy sketches that ran on the BBC Radio show ‘Beyond Our Ken’ from 1964-69. Over Sunday lunch, millions (there was ONLY the BBC in those days) listened to two very camp characters saying outrageous things in Polari (underground gay slang). A much earlier prime example is the great dirty joke (it’s the one in blue at the bottom of the page) that got comedian Max Miller (died in 1963) banned from the BBC for 5 years. A more recent case of innuendo is, of course, Mrs. Slocombe’s pussy. Of course the double entendre can also be unintentional.
posted by rolo on Feb 27, 2004 - 8 comments

That's your mum, that is

History Today made me laugh. Why had I never heard of Newman and Baddiel before? (I suppose because I'm American and my English friend hadn't sent me that link until today.) Don't read the transcripts, watch the videos.
posted by boredomjockey on Feb 19, 2004 - 11 comments

Fencing Sucks

No, seriously, they score by touching the opponent in the Valid Target Area. The touches are monitored electronically via wires coming out of the fencers' backs, similar to the technology used to control Dan Rather.
-from Dave Barry on Fencing in the humor section of Fencing Sucks.
posted by Shane on Jun 30, 2003 - 30 comments

History of the Internet as We Know It

The History of the Internet as told, with a humourous touch, by The Lemon. "If anyone makes any overused Al Gore jokes they will be beaten unconscious with a 300 baud modem."
posted by thebabelfish on May 19, 2003 - 7 comments

Behind The Typeface Presents: Cooper Black.

Behind The Typeface Presents: Cooper Black. The gripping saga of one typeface's trials and tribulations, following its path from the dizzying heights of stardom to the brink of self-destruction and back again. (Flash 5, approx. 3MB.)
posted by youhas on Jul 26, 2002 - 31 comments

Prototype mechanical soldier tried out in WWI!

Prototype mechanical soldier tried out in WWI! Your challenge on this site is to separate fact from fiction.
posted by beagle on Oct 25, 2001 - 16 comments

To those who say our
Founding Fathers Couldn't get down with their bad selves...
Peep Washington, Jefferson and da rest of da boyz in an Independence Day Rap. Click on each founding father to let them throw down some phat lyrics too. (Flash required, yo!)
posted by EricBrooksDotCom on Jun 25, 2000 - 2 comments

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