Laughter in cities


N has a strong urge to laugh,

N has the giggles

to restrain laughter

to split one's sides laughing

irrepressible laughter

a burst of laughter

a laugh


Cities are noise. The noise that jumps at you as you walk along is laughter. Laughter is difficult to photograph and to paint. It becomes ugly and does not visually convey its spirit. Seeing laughter frightens people, that makes people laugh in their turn.

In La Chute, (1956) Albert Camus centres his story on a laugh. A laugh heard by the central character while wandering the streets of Paris. The laugh haunts him and changes his life irrevocably (Irrevocably: the sound of the laugh maintains itself in his sense of the present, and accompanies him on his journey. He makes of the laugh what he wishes, or rather what he dreads most: it confronts him with himself, and sees an emptiness.

 Laughter bears only an incidental relation to the thing laughed about. It is really a projection of the person laughing or the person dealing with the laugh. This is why laughter is an essence of the city. Its distillate.

The laughter in Henri Bergson's  Le Rire is also a laughter of the city. It searches out the stiff, the things lacking the suppleness and the dynamism of the modern city.



Syntactic actants

Actant 1: whose laughter it is
(a) Genitive
(b) Possessive

Sublime laughter

Is the laughter that comes with the discovery of a further space. It is sublime because it reaches very far. It ties the world to its personal discovery by man. It is the laughter of discovery. It ties the matrix of alloted knowledge back together on the suprise of a link. This kind of laughter exists only in the city, where a complexity can be unravelled.

Homeric Laughter

Is the laughter of conquest at the city wall. It is a wild and ferocious laughter. Bloodthirsty



Lewd Laughter

Is the laughter among friends in the street. They have little else to share. It is also the laughter of men negotiating with their wishes

Peals of laughter

Is the laughter of prayer. The laughter of actors


Is the laughter of girls arm in arm

Generous Smiles

Is the laughter of those who have seen it all and have overcome

Sardonic Laughter

Is the laughter of thos who think they have seen it all and feel themselves wise

Cynical Laughter

Is the laughter of those who know better

Hysterical Laughter

Is sadness spread very thickly

contemptuous laughter

Is the laughter of power

sarcastic laughter

Is the laughter of contempt

malicious laughter

spiteful laughter

satanic laughter

Is the laughter of small minds

merry laughter 


copyright jacob voorthuis 1994-2008