According to philosophers of humor, our experiences of “funny” can release nervous tension, express our feelings of superiority over others, or reveal our struggles to assimilate something unexpected. Comedy is the art of creating funny, and studying when and why things are funny is a part of value theory called aesthetics. Like ethics, aesthetics helps us interrogate what we value and what we see as worth the risk to get a benefit from humor. To some, not much is funny about illness and injury. To others, there seems to be a lot to joke about. This tension is the focus of this issue.
Traditional causes of action involving the use of humor are breach of contract, defamation, trademark infringement, harassment or hostile work environment, and intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress.
AMA J Ethics. 2020;22(7):E596-601. doi:
The Second City collaborates with health care organizations to help clinicians navigate uncertainties of health care work. Insights and exercises are offered here that readers can use with their teams and students.
AMA J Ethics. 2020;22(7):E619-623. doi:
Kelly Leonard, executive director of insights and applied improvisation at Second City Works, relates how improvisation can help clinicians build relationships with patients and improve their outcomes.
Lucas Livingston joins us for a special edition of Ethics Talk to discuss the loneliness epidemic exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and how museum accessibility promotes healthy aging and lifelong learning for us all.