Joy and wisdom in Dad Jokes

Marc Hye-Knudsen for the British Psychological Society March 14 delves deep into the pedagogical value of a much-maligned art form asserting, “Dad jokes? That’s the way eye roll…

“It might seem tempting to simply dismiss dad jokes as bad jokes, at the same time accusing dads of just having a bad sense of humor, but that would be a mistake. When considered properly, dad jokes are an intricately multi-layered and fascinating phenomenon that reveals a lot not just about how humor and joke-telling work but also about fathers’ psychology and their relationships with their children. Dad jokes work on at least three levels: as puns, as anti-humor, and as a kind of weaponized anti-humor when dads use them to teasingly annoy and/or embarrass their children. It is in this last context that the link between dads and dad jokes is to be found…”

Hye-Knudsen after worldwide historical references suggests, “Dad jokes seem perfectly tailored to the modern father figure, a markedly softer and less domineering kind of patriarch than that of earlier eras. The dad in question has to be willing to embarrass himself – to play the fool – in order to vicariously embarrass his kids.

“By teasingly striking at their children’s egos and emotions without teetering over into bullying, fathers build their children’s resilience and train them to withstand minor attacks and bouts of negative emotion without getting worked up or acting out, teaching them impulse control and emotional regulation,” Hye-Knudsen wrote.

Finally, scientific justification with illumination. Dads everywhere are rejoicing and “to whoever stole my copy of Microsoft Office, I will find you. You have my Word!”

Click here for the full report.

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