<i>al-Thawra al-daHika</i>: The Challenges of Translating Revolutionary Humor

Lewis Sanders IV and ark Visonà

in Translating Egypt's Revolution

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9789774165337
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781617971303 | DOI:
al-Thawra al-daHika: The Challenges of Translating Revolutionary Humor

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The authors translate a representative selection from the avalanche of political jokes that the Egyptian revolution generated and that have qualified it as “the laughing revolution” analyzing the structure and dissemination of these jokes that were predominantly inspired by both traditional and social media discourses, forms, and languages. One of the most revolutionary aspects about some of these jokes is that they are being constantly updated and made to bear on the latest events on mobile phones, Facebook and Twitter. Despite the challenges of translating jokes and other emerging forms of humor and satire on social media networks (videos, cartoons, photoshop imaging, etc) these new forms of comic relief have come to represent some of the most important weapons that have sustained Egypt's revolution in its most difficult and tragic moments. The black humor of the jokes that circulated after the October 9 “Maspero Massacre” is a case in point. Egyptians immediately turned this tragic incident and the junta's transparent denial of responsibility for the massacre of peaceful demonstrators into a joke that ridiculed the SCAF's incredulous claims by parodying the language and discourse of the SCAF's Facebook communiqués.

Keywords: Jokes; Revolution humor; Political humor; Black humor; Facebook; Twitter; Social media; Maspero

Chapter.  10530 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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