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Humorists definitely serve a vital function in society, but not as much as they did in the early 1900s. In today’s society, we spend most of our time on the internet, which is often highly polarized. The internet enables us to speak with and connect with people with similar mindsets, but often at the cost of being trapped in an echo chamber with people of similar viewpoints. This echo chamber is impervious to the “other side’s” opposing opinions and beliefs, and as a result, this echo chamber denies the productive debates that could have stemmed from having both sides communicate with each other from ever happening. As a result, humorist’s messages are often seen by people who have the same mindset and opinions as the humorist themselves.
The humorist’s messages are therefore seen and viewed as ideas that are widely known and accepted throughout the echo chamber as fact. As a result, humorist’s ideas are no longer as important as they were at the beginning of the twentieth century, when their ideas were more accessible and most of the population was composed of illiterate immigrants who relied on pictures and cartoons in order to understand the message that the humorists tried to convey. One such example would be the humorist Thomas Nast, who devoted his life to exposing the corruption and illegitimacy of the supposedly “democratic” voting system in New York City. Nast’s work gave the public awareness that their votes were being taken and controlled by the wealthy in order to amass more wealth and power. When the public saw Nast’s cartoons, they realized that they had been manipulated. This knowledge caused the public to rise up in rebellion, and as a result, corruption was dealt with, and democracy restored.
In today’s highly polarized echo chamber, humorists may strive to convey messages that otherwise can’t be conveyed without humor or pictures, but their impact on the society and politics will never be as strong as the impact that they had on the society of the 1900s.
Humorists definitely serve a vital function in society, but not as much as they did in the early 1900s. The internet has caused a massive riff between society, and ultimately has diminished the value of humorist’s messages because now only supporters of the humorist’s messages see the ideas in the first place. The echo chamber that we have created for ourselves is impervious to the “other side’s” opposing opinions and beliefs, and as a result, this echo chamber denies the productive debates that could have stemmed from having both sides communicate with each other from ever happening. As a result, humorist’s messages are often seen by people who have the same mindset and opinions as the humorist themselves.
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