‘The Pen vs. The Sword’ workshop talks humor and injustice

Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

As part of Art-a-Thon, Baruch College Professor Linda W. Friedman hosted “The Pen vs. The Sword: Using Humor to Fight Injustice” to teach attendees about the way in which humor can be used for social justice.

The workshop, which was held during club hours, was one of the more interactive events of the day with an opportunity for participants to write their own jokes.

Since the theme was fighting injustice, Friedman showed the group videos of comedians discussing serious topics, such as racism and discrimination, with humor. She said that much of humor comes from anger, as can be the case for comedians joking about prejudice.

“The purpose of this event to me was to spread the word about this type of humor that I think could be very helpful to people,” Friedman, a professor at the Jewish Studies Center, said.

The clips shown displayed characteristics of humor that were then meant to be emulated by participants when trying to write their own jokes. Some of these characteristics are innovation, observation, and exaggeration.

“I think that, number one, humor is not necessarily frivolous, maybe it’s never frivolous. It can have, and often has, an important function,” Friedman said. “I think that’s the main thing, that humor is important.”