Benjamin Franklin, the OG printing prankster, wasn’t just a brilliant printer; he was America’s true Renaissance man with an unparalleled wit and a penchant for cleverly trolling his competitors.
Benjamin Franklin wasn’t content with merely mastering the printing press; he turned it into a stage for his remarkable humor and ingenuity. Buckle up, as we discover that beneath the ink and paper, Franklin’s life was a captivating tale of a man who could wield humor as skillfully as the printing press, making his mark not only as an influential printer but as one of America’s most brilliant and enduring minds.
“Apology for Printers” (1731)
In this laugh out loud essay, Franklin defended printers with a wink and a chuckle. He argued that if printers refused to publish anything controversial, they might as well fold up shop. After all, who wants a newspaper without a good scandal or two?
“The Drinker’s Dictionary” (1737)
On a trip to London, Ben decided to have a go at the English fondness for tipple. He created a list of more than 200 hilarious synonyms for “drunk” and published it as “The Drinker’s Dictionary, or, the Compleat Vintner.” Terms like “half-way to Concord” and “foxed” left Londoners in stitches, showing that even sobriety couldn’t quench his thirst for comedy.
“Dialogues Concerning the Libido” (1730)
Franklin was the king of lampooning pop culture, and in the 1700s, that meant skewering “vice literature.” He published a satirical dialogue between a man and a woman discussing their carnal desires, titled “Dialogues Concerning the Libido, or, the Love-Vanity.” Under the pseudonym “Polygamia,” he had readers in stitches while poking fun at the latest trends.
“Join or Die” (1754)
Ben wasn’t all jests and giggles; he had a serious side too. Using a clever political cartoon, “Join or Die,” he rallied the colonies to unite against the British. He showed a snake chopped into pieces, each representing a different colony, sending the message: “Hey, folks, let’s stick together to win our freedom!”
“Fart Proudly” (1781)
In this unpublished masterpiece, Ben served up flatulence wisdom with a side of hilarity. He served up a delightful concoction of flatulence wisdom, sprinkled liberally with his signature hilarity. He dared to suggest various methods for reducing gas, including the invention of wind-breaking contraptions. A true pioneer in the realm of bathroom humor!
Benjamin Franklin’s legacy in the print and graphic design industry extends far beyond ink and paper. He was a master of the printing press, but he was also a master of humor, satire, and ingenious mischief. Beyond his prolific printing career, Franklin’s tireless advocacy for freedom of the press, political satire, and his unwavering dedication to the American cause make him a unique and inspirational figure. Franklin’s work showcased that the power of printing extended beyond mere communication—it was a means to evoke thought, spark conversation, and bring smiles to faces. He reminded us that humor is a universal language, transcending barriers and creating connections.