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Kansas Memory Blog

Absurd Humor

Posted by Megan Rohleder on Oct 8, 2020

By: Lauren Gray, Head of Reference

Humor is universal, yet constantly evolving – from the well-honed satire of Jonathan Swift to the sprightly dancing sausage of Snapchat, every generation embraces its own unique comedic language. Cartoons and poppets, witty one-liners and knock-down slap-stick, these are the building blocks of humor, the grammar of our shared understanding. Humor helps us communicate; it also acts as a balm in times of uncertainty.

In the spirit of these extraordinary and trying times, we combed through our digital archive to find the funniest, the most absurd, and the most surreal images our side of the rainbow. We’ve compiled pieces from our collections that help us crack a smile. Some of the images below are surprisingly modern in their approach – you might recognize people behaving similarly today; as for some of the others, well…we won’t ask too many questions (that Chewbacca doll might haunt us, though).

Social distancing obviously wasn’t on Captain Hughes’ mind in this photograph, but they sure knew how to dress for a party!

Captain Hughes

Missing fast food while you’re stuck in lockdown? You probably don’t want these chickens on the menu:

 

William Mitchell clearly had a lot of time on his hands when he doodled this map of Kansas. Also, grasshoppers have beards?

 

 

Chewbacca has obviously been doing his own at-home haircuts.

Abraham “Bullet Hole” Ellis – extra on The Walking Dead or Territorial Representative? You decide…

 

 Mr. G. Hopper looks like he’s dragging himself out of his own lockdown in this cartoon. (We can only hope we look slightly better.)

 

 

Click on each image to learn more about its *actual* historical context. Also, give us your best one-liners or captions in the comments below! 

 

 

 


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