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[Xmca-l] Re: Fun &Games



Wolfgang Koehler, the Gestalt psychologist whose work on chimpanzees so
impressed Vygotsky (see, inter alia, Chapter Four of Thinking and Speech),
remarked that contrary to what Mark Twain said humans are not the only
species that laughs. Chimpanzees on Tenerife where he worked used to offer
food to his hens, and then, when the hens tried to eat it, they would pull
the food away and eat it themselves with a huffing sound, which Koehler
interpreted as laughter. Anyone who watches elementary school children
having fun notices almost right away that one of the most elementary forms
of fun is not at all collusion between subversives against the higher
powers but precisely the opposite: individualistic acts of aggression and
aggrandizement precisely against children perceived to be more helpless,
who offer "fun" with impunity.

So I think the real question, as always, is how higher forms develop (and
actually, Greg, I was quite serious when I said that I thought imaginary
situations and abstract rules represented developmentally higher forms of
play). One possibility that occurs to me is a kind of "self parody". That
is, if you are looking for fun with impunity, one of the few really
reliable sources might be making fun of yourself. Self-directed fun then
becomes something like self-directed speech, something that is
internalizable as a kind of imaginary situation or even an imaginary self.

But there are always limits to impunity. Over the last few days I've been
watching with horror the cell phone videos made from apartment windows in
Tianjin, where twenty tons of TNT went up in a huge fireball that was both
immediately lethal to over a hundred people and toxic to countless others
in the long term. The cell phone videos always have sound tracks filled
with laughter and obscenities (in both Chinese and English--some were made
by locals and some by expatriates). And the sort of things that people
exclaim when they are having fun. And then the shock wave shatters the
apartment window and there is blood everywhere.

David Kellogg



On Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 2:21 AM, Rod Parker-Rees <
R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:

> I think the relationships between play, playfulness, enjoyment and fun are
> important features of social and cultural interactions but slippery and
> resistant to any kind of definition. Indeed I suspect that we enjoy
> playfulness and fun partly because it reminds us that seemingly rigid rules
> and constraints can be played with and loosened up. I think there is a kind
> of exuberant playfulness, just one of the layered meanings of fun listed in
> Robert's post, which depends on interaction- when two or more people
> recognise that they are engaging in a shared exchange of playful
> interactions they can enter into an escalating spiral, as the 'loosening'
> of conventional constraints allows them to reveal more of themselves to
> each other. The mix of enjoyment with a touch of riskiness can build to
> exuberant hilarity which can also reinforce a feeling of trust between the
> 'players'. Though not always- it can sometimes veer off into teasing and
> 'making fun OF' someone.
>
> I wonder whether the sense of the riskiness of fun might play a part in
> the negative connotations usually now associated with 'collusion'. People
> who WORK together (collaborate) are socially safe but people who PLAY
> together (collude) are socially dangerous because they encourage each other
> to loosen the hold of social constraints and expectations. Which may be
> more fun for the players than for others outside their circle.
>
> All the best,
>
> Rod
>
> On 19 Aug 2015 5:22 pm, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> My queries were going in a direction with yours, Rolf. Play is a leading
> activity in LSV-Elkonin-Leontiev. But somehow developmental psychologists
> do not
> appear to make use of the term and I do not know who does.
>
> Robert's etymology is certainly interesting. Modern usage seems to still
> have a bit of that tricksterism dwelling within it.
>
> And, like Helen, the way this confused semantic space is organized in
> different languages is fascinating. I have been playing with
> english-russian and then checking various options for backtranslationg.
>
> A tangled web, me thinks.
>
> I have this feeling that imagination plays different roles in the two
> domains, however they turn out to be constituted.
>
> mike
>
>
>
> That's great, Robert.
>
> I have been playing with translations and back-translations between Russian
> and English.
>
> On Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 7:30 AM, Robert Lake <boblake@georgiasouthern.edu>
> wrote:
>
> > It is interesting (and fun) to look up word origins in the OED.
> > which reveals a significant cultural/historically shaped evolution.
> > See below.
> > *Robert*
> >
> > *Oxford English Dictionary*
> >
> > *Etymology:*  probably < fun *v.*
> > <http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/75468#eid3558958>
> >
> >
> >
> > †*1.* A cheat or trick; a hoax, a practical joke.
> >
> > 1699   B. E. *New Dict. Canting Crew*   *Fun*, a Cheat or slippery Trick.
> >
> > 1719   in T. D'Urfey *Wit & Mirth* V. 259   A Hackney Coachman he did buy
> > her, And was not this a very good Fun.
> >
> >
> >
> >  *2.*
> >
> >
> >
> >  *a.* Diversion, amusement, sport; also, boisterous jocularity or gaiety,
> > drollery. Also, a source or cause of amusement or pleasure.(Johnson 1755
> > stigmatizes it as ‘a low cant word’; in present use it is merely somewhat
> > familiar.)
> >
> > 1727   Swift *Misc. Epit. By-words*   Tho' he talk'd much of virtue, his
> > head always run Upon something or other she found better fun.
> >
> > 1749   H. Fielding *Tom Jones* III. ix. vi. 354   Partridge..was a great
> > Lover of what is called Fun.
> >
> > 1751   E. Moore *Gil Blas* Prol. sig. A3,   Don't mind me tho'— For all
> my
> > Fun and Jokes.
> >
> > 1767   H. Brooke *Fool of Quality* I. 99   Vindex..looked smilingly about
> > him with much fun in his face.
> >
> > *a*1774   A. Tucker *Light of Nature Pursued* (1777) III. iii. 10   It is
> > fun to them to break off an ornament, or disfigure a statue.
> >
> > 1790   R. Burns *Tam o' Shanter* in *Poems & Songs* (1968) II. 561   The
> > mirth and fun grew fast and furious.
> >
> > 1836   Dickens *Pickwick Papers* (1837) ii. 7   ‘What's the fun?’ said a
> > rather tall thin young man.
> >
> > 1845   S. C. Hall *Bk. Gems* 90   His wit and humour delightful, when it
> > does not degenerate into ‘fun’.
> >
> > 1849   E. E. Napier *Excursions Southern Afr.* II. 331   Being better
> > mounted than the rest of his troop, [he] pushed on to see more of the
> fun.
> >
> > 1887   M. Shearman *Athletics & Football* 325   Most footballers play for
> > the fun and the fun alone.
> >
> > 1889   J. K. Jerome *Idle Thoughts* 42   There is no fun in doing nothing
> > when you have nothing to do.
> >
> > 1891   S. Baring-Gould *In Troubadour-land* iv. 50,   I do not see the
> fun
> > of going to hotels of the first class.
> >
> > 1934   *Punch* 9 May 526/1   A Rector in an unapostolic fury is rather
> fun.
> >
> > 1954   *Economist* 20 Mar.   His book has all the charm of science
> fiction;
> > it is enormous fun.
> >
> > 1958   *Listener* 25 Dec. 1085/1   The clothes were Jacobean, and fun to
> > wear.
> >
> > *(Hide quotations)*
> > <
> >
> http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/75467?rskey=SpD3uz&result=1&isAdvanced=false
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >  *b.* Phr. *to make fun of* , *poke fun at* (a person, etc.): to
> > ridicule. *for or in
> > fun* : as a joke, sportively, not seriously. *(he, it is) good, great
> fun*
> > :
> > a source of much amusement. *like fun*: energetically, very quickly,
> > vigorously. *what fun!* how very amusing! *for the fun of the thing*: for
> > amusement; *to have fun (with)* : to enjoy (a process); *spec.* to have
> > sexual intercourse.
> >
> > 1737   H. Walpole *Corr.* (1820) I. 17,   I can't help making fun of
> > myself.
> >
> > 1826   M. M. Sherwood *Lady of Manor* (ed. 2) IV. xxi. 247   Then you
> won't
> > make fun of me, will you?
> >
> > 1834   S. Smith *Sel. Lett. Major Jack Downing* ix. 24   They put their
> > hats on and began to laugh like fun.
> >
> > 1840   T. Hood *Up Rhine* 145   The American..in a dry way began to ‘poke
> > his fun’ at the unfortunate traveller.
> >
> > 1848   J. R. Lowell *Biglow Papers* 1st Ser. iv. 98   Stickin' together
> > like fun.
> >
> > 1848   E. C. Gaskell *Mary Barton* I. v. 73   Carsons' mill is blazing
> away
> > like fun.
> >
> > 1849   E. Bulwer-Lytton *Caxtons* I. i. iv. 29   You would be very sorry
> if
> > your mamma was to..break it for fun.
> >
> > 1857   T. Hughes *Tom Brown's School Days* ii. iii. 273   The bolts went
> to
> > like fun.
> >
> > 1860   T. P. Thompson *Audi Alteram Partem* III. cxxvi. 82   Who knows
> but
> > Volunteer Rifles may make a campaign in the Holy Land, and mount guard
> over
> > the production of the holy fire at Easter? ‘What fun!’
> >
> > 1871   B. Jowett tr. Plato *Dialogues* I. 145   He may pretend in fun
> that
> > he has a bad memory.
> >
> > 1876   M. M. Grant *Sun-maid* I. iii. 104   The races are great fun.
> >
> > 1877   *Independent* 19 July 15/2   Little Tad commissioned lieutenant by
> > Stanton, ‘just for the fun of the thing’.
> >
> > 1891   N. Gould *Double Event* 1   He's such good fun, and he's so
> > obliging.
> >
> > 1893   J. S. Farmer & W. E. Henley *Slang* III. 86/2   *To have* (or
> *do*)
> > *a
> > bit of fun*, to procure or enjoy the sexual favour.
> >
> > 1895   H. A. Kennedy in *19th Cent.* Aug. 331,   I suppose the
> wood-carver
> > was poking fun at him?
> >
> > 1903   M. Beerbohm *Around Theatres* (1924) I. 425   Amateur mimes..go in
> > for private theatricals..just for the fun of the thing.
> >
> > 1958   *Times Lit. Suppl.* 7 Feb. 73/4   The clerks..get their own back
> by
> > unmasking frauds and..having fun with the low standard of French
> commercial
> > honesty.
> >
> > 1961   M. Dickens *Heart of London* ii. 198   Ambrosia had pushed Edgar
> and
> > the girl in there with the admonition to have some fun, dears.
> >
> > *(Hide quotations)*
> > <
> >
> http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/75467?rskey=SpD3uz&result=1&isAdvanced=false
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >  *c.* Exciting goings-on. Also *fun and games*, freq. used ironically;
> > *spec.* amatory play. *colloq.*
> >
> > 1879   W. J. Barry *Up & Down* vii. 51   We..had a good passage to
> > Hong-Kong. When we arrived, the first Chinese war with Britain had broken
> > out, and there was every appearance of plenty of fun to be shortly had
> with
> > the Chinkies.
> >
> > 1897   *Daily News* 13 Sept. 7/1   The engineer officers who are engaged
> in
> > carrying out some of the Sirdar's plans get much more than their fair
> share
> > of ‘the fun’.
> >
> > 1898   *Westm. Gaz.* 28 Oct. 3/1   It is possible that there may be rare
> > fun by-and-by on the Nile.
> >
> > 1920   ‘Sapper’ *Bull-dog Drummond* vi. 155   We've had lots of fun and
> > games since I last saw you.
> >
> > 1940   N. Mitford *Pigeon Pie* iii. 66   Farther on, however, you come to
> > jolly fun and games—great notices.
> >
> > 1948   E. Partridge *Dict. Forces' Slang* 78   *Fun and games*, any sort
> of
> > brush with the enemy at sea.
> >
> > 1948   ‘N. Shute’ *No Highway* iii. 70   ‘Fun and games,’ he said. ‘The
> > boffin's going mad.’
> >
> > 1952   E. Grierson *Reputation for Song* xxix. 260   Beneath the orderly
> > conduct of her bar there was always present the possibility of ‘fun and
> > games’.
> >
> > 1954   C. Armstrong *Better to eat You* ii. 22   If it happened because
> > somebody is having fun-and-games with Miss Sarah Shepherd, somebody is
> > going to be sorry.
> >
> > 1966   J. Porter *Sour Cream* v. 59,   I headed the car in the direction
> of
> > the coast road. We had the usual fun and games with the local drivers.
> >
> > 1970   *Globe & Mail (Toronto) *26 Sept. B3/3   Mr. Brown also expects
> the
> > fun and games of tax haven subsidiaries to disappear with the new
> > legislation.
> >
> >
> >
> > On Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 10:17 AM, Andrew Babson <ababson@umich.edu>
> wrote:
> >
> > > Mike, first as an aside, I tried to post this earlier and it got
> > rejected,
> > > so, updating my contact info now. A sign I should get more active here?
> > >
> > > Thanks for the great question, which is relevant to an approach
> > > I am developing for analyzing interactional choices of young people. On
> > > another level of analysis, we can think of the wide range of ideologies
> > of
> > > life course stages, specifically how certain kinds of play and fun are
> > > expected of accepted at certain ages; and also how those ideologies are
> > > different and similar culturally and historically.
> > >
> > > For what I'm working on the first interactional level is more relevant
> > > to class, culture and education and the latter about youth and culture
> > > across the lifespan. The twain do meet in that we often think of
> > > experimentation, dynamism, flexibility and freedom when we think of
> play
> > > and also when we think of youth, whether referring to childhood or
> young
> > > adulthood.
> > >
> > > It's not a big step to consider where "fun" might fit in this
> > conversation.
> > > As an LSE anthro grad I can't also help but think of the relation of
> this
> > > conversation to Maurice Bloch's work in Madagascar on the constitution
> of
> > > the body and how it is expected to change through and after life,
> namely
> > as
> > > we get older we get bonier and therefore closer to the ancestors who
> are
> > > physically only bone. It's interesting to think of how far we can or
> > should
> > > carry these analogic ideological constructions---the young spirit like
> > > cartilage and the old spirit like bone---and how they relate to the
> > above!
> > >
> > > Andrew
> > >
> > > ---------------
> > >
> > > Andrew Babson, Ph.D.
> > > Lecturer
> > > Graduate School of Education
> > > University of Pennsylvania
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On Monday, August 17, 2015, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> > >
> > > > I have been led to wonder -- what is the relationship between having
> > fun
> > > > and playing.  How do they differ? Does their relationship, if they
> are
> > > not
> > > > reducible one to the other, change over the course of development?
> Odd
> > > how
> > > > the category of fun is absent from developmental discourse.
> > > > Mike
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > --
> > > >
> > > > It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
> > > > object that creates history. Ernst Boesch
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > > --
> > > sent from my phone
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Robert Lake  Ed.D.
> > Associate Professor
> > Social Foundations of Education
> > Dept. of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading
> > Georgia Southern University
> > Secretary/Treasurer-AERA- Paulo Freire Special Interest Group
> > P. O. Box 8144
> > Phone: (912) 478-0355
> > Fax: (912) 478-5382
> > Statesboro, GA  30460
> > *He not busy being born is busy dying.*
> > Bob Dylan (1964).
> >
>
>
>
> --
>
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch
> ________________________________
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