Let’s remind ourselves of a phenomenon quite usual in popular TV shows or serials – canned-laughter. After some supposedly funny or witty remark, you can hear the laughter and the applause included in the soundtrack of the show itself. […] That is to say, why this laughter? The first possible answer – that it serves to remind us when to laugh – is interesting enough because it implies the paradox that laughter is a matter of duty and not of some spontaneous feeling. But this answer isn’t sufficient, because usually we don’t laugh. The only correct answer would then be that the Other – embodied in the TV-set – is relieving us even of our duty to laugh – is laughing instead of us. So, even if, tired from the hard day’s stupid work, we did nothing all evening but gaze drowsily into the TV-screen, we can say afterwards that objectively, through me medium of the Other, we had a really good time.
Slavoj Žižek, The Sublime Object of Ideology (1989)
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