IWP alumnus Michael Cohn recently co-authored a piece with Paul Sims in the Naval Postgraduate School’s Spring 2010 Culture and Conflict Review entitled, “Ridicule as a Tool for IO/PSYOPS in Afghanistan.”
Cohn and Sims observe that, “humor is an anthropological constant while being a culturally relative value.” In other words, while every culture has humor, different cultures find different things to be funny. If humor is to be used for IO/PSYOPS purposes, Afghan’s particular type of humor must first be understood. The authors proceed to describe in detail Afghans’ senses of honor, shame and, particularly, humor. They recommend how this humor can be used strategically in the area to fight against the Taliban.