3000 Years of JOKES AND MISTAKES by Professor Julia Evergreen Keefer

The objective of this theme is to stimulate the student to research the mistakes and humor of great thinkers, writers, dramatists, comedians, scientists, politicians, and world leaders throughout history. What is the most egregious error we have committed? Those of us who love clean air may regret the invention of personal cars, tobacco, and many industrial products. What strong belief was the most absurd? Thinking the world was flat? Who makes you laugh the most? It isn't always a comedian-- it could well be a politician. Why?

What is humor? Recent studies in functional magnetic resonance imaging reveal tremendous cerebral activity when people are creating and reacting to humor, connecting the language center to the somatosensory area, the right brain with the left. By laughing as we learn, we can therefore remember things better as they become embedded in our bodies through our senses as well as our cognition. How does humor differ from culture to culture? Why is it that Americans have traditionally preferred physical comedy to the esoteric word play of much British and French satire? As we approach the millenium, are Americans developing a more intellectual sense of irony? Is this a part of growing up or getting more jaded?

Think of all the technology inventions of this century. Are any of them mistakes? Look at the book MEDICINE AND WESTERN CIVILISATION to see how physicians and patients dealt with disease in previous eras. What mistakes did they make? Are any of these philosophies erroneous like the poisonous effects of masturbation on mind and body? Who corrected these mistakes?

Is there anything funny about the great explorers like Leif Ericsson, Christopher Columbus, Lewis & Clark, the astronauts, and the modern adventurers to Everest, Telluride, Belize, the Catskills. What about all the explorers who exceeded their limits and died during their adventures? Was their hubris a mistake or just bad luck?

Did our so-called geniuses, Aristotle, Plato, Jesus, Leonardo Da Vinci, Descartes, Nietzsche, Freud, Einstein, et al. make any mistakes: If so, what were they and who corrected them?

Literature Track
Look at the following works in terms of Pain, Problem, Imperfection, and Punchline
Lysistrata by Aristophanes
The Greeks were suffering from too many wars. When their men returned from home, the women dressed up seductively and then refused to have sex unless the men vowed never to fight again.
School for Wives by Moliere
An innocent young girl turns the tables on a lecherous old man after he sends her to a convent.
School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan
An older man tests his innocent, country wife's loyalty by bringing her to town where she learns to see through her scandal-mongering friends.
Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare
The folly of romantic love is satirized when a fairy queen falls in love with a monster but, by putting the magic potion in everyone's eyes, all the couples end up happily marrried.
"A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift
This short essay proposes a ludicrous solution to the Irish potato famine.

Film and TV Track
Charlie Chaplin movies
I Love Lucy
Woody Allen movies
Wag the Dog by David Mamet
Conan O' Brian
South Park



Cyberperformance V: 100 Years of Jokes and Mistakes


Alecsey Boldeskul

Jessica Goldberg

Joey Jabaley

Edgar Jaramillo

Elena Margarita McCalla

Zachary Papazahariou

Donna Philibert

Judy Schramm

Jagjeet S. Sidhu

Ruth Snapper

Tonja Weary

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Each student will follow their own research path with appropriate texts, journals, interviews, online material, community research etc.but will submit at least 2 pages of writing a week as well as give weekly progress reports to the rest of the class. Students are encouraged to choose an area compatible with their experience, jobs, college major and interests. At the beginning of the semester we will choose common texts for in-class writing, discussion, and the cyberperformance.

WW1 students will have a shorter reading list and do an 8-10 page paper whereas WW2 students must write the required 15 college term paper. Both classes must do webfolios and oral presentations of their work for CYBERPERFORMANCE VI December 99.


The Century: 100 Years of Jokes and Mistakes


Course Breakdown

Grading: To get an A: You must bring 2-3 pages of writing to class every week. WWI students just have to organize a creative webfolio, based on weekly assignments, that includes at least 5 samples of writing from different genres: expository academic, argumentative, personal, fiction/poetry/drama and/or business and/or a mini WWII research project. WWII students must submit a webfolio that includes a final research paper. Both classes must participate in

Cyberperformance V: Millenial Special, Jokes and Mistakes: THE CENTURY. Participating just means showing up at 5:00 on December 18 in the Warren Weaver Building with your completed work, not being a great performer or web designer. You are graded only on "just doing" your weekly writing, and designing excellent projects.

Classes consist of improvisational writing and discussion on course theme, lectures on logic, rhetoric, academic and other styles, research methodologies and sources, web design and the internet, interview techniques, and bibliographic format, oral presentations of prepared writing and research projects, culminating in the Cyberperformance.

Sept. 11: In-class improvisational writing and diagnostic on course theme. Read intro and as much of Chapter I to p. 48 as possible. Bring 2-3 pages on this chapter for next week. Students introduce themselves and their objectives, careers and life experiences.

Sept. 18: Discussion and free writing on Chapter 1. Read Chapter 2 and bring 2-3 pages of writing on it for next week. Students discuss how their memories and experiences relate to course theme.

Sept. 25: Discussion and free writing on Chapter 2. Read Chapter 3 and bring 2-3 pages of writing on it for next week. Lectures on basic research resources: the library, the internet, the community.

Oct. 2: Discussion and free writing on Chapter 3. Read Chapters 4 and 5 and bring 2-3 pages of writing on it for next week. Lecture on thesis identification and development as well as the pitfalls of logical fallacies.

Oct. 9: Guest lecturer Albert Lung. Free writing and discussion with him on any aspect of THE CENTURY. Career counseling on law school. Writing exercises on logic and semantic clarity. Prepare a writing surprise for Professor Evergreen for next week and bring in your pages on Chapters 4 and 5. WWII students should have the proposal for their final project ready.

Oct. 16: Discussion and free writing on Chapters 4 and 5. Read Chapters 6 and 7 and bring 2-3 pages of writing on it. From now on, WWII students can substitute this writing assignment with 2-3 pages on their final project, if they so desire, but they MUST submit writing every week. Lecture and writing exercises on applying thesis development to projects and webfolios.

Oct. 23: Discussion and free writing on Chapters 6 and 7. Read Chapters 7 and 8 and bring 2-3 pages of writing on it. Lecture on academic style compared to journalism and business writing.

Oct. 30: Discussion and free writing on Chapters 7 and 8. Read Chapters 9 and 10 and bring 2-3 pages of writing on it. Lecture on outlining, refining style and argumentation.

November 6: Discussion and free writing on Chapters 9 and 10. Everyone read Chapter 11. WWI students should bring 2-3 pages of writing on it. WWII students should submit their 3 page bibliography, final project outline, and at least five pages of a rough draft.

November 13: Discussion and free writing on Chapter 11. Everyone read Chapter 12. WWI students prepare 2-3 pages on it for webfolio for next week; WWII students work on final projects and BRING the results to class. Lecture on the internet and web design.

November 20: Wrap-up of THE CENTURY. Individual conferences on projects and webfolios. Individualized assignments over the holiday. WWII must prepare their final paper.

N.B. From now until the rest of the semester, Professor Keefer will be in the Innovation Center Wed afternoon and evening. Please try to get there at least once to personally edit and design your web site.

November 27: Thanksgiving.

December 4: Rewriting, revising, multimedia and web design for WWI students. WWII students should bring five copies of their final paper for cross editing.

December 11: Deadline for final webfolios and research projects. Multimedia and web design for both classes.

December 16: Keefer will be in the lab, second floor Warren Weaver all afternoon and evening to upload your material.

December 18: CYBERPERFORMANCE V: THE CENTURY from 2000 Years of Jokes and Mistakes! Begins at 5:00. Be there by 4:00.