Like the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s test for obscenity – “I know it when I see it” – you know a dad joke when you hear it.

It’s corny. It’s awkward. It elicits groans.

Cape Breton University’s Ian Brodie and Indiana University’s Moira Marsh trace the genealogy of the term “dad joke” to a Father’s Day column from the late 1980s. Only over the past 20 years, however, has the term taken off.

Perhaps this form of humor has resonated with so many people because dads across generations have rarely passed up an opportunity to embarrass their kids.

Brodie and Marsh explain how dad jokes differ from most forms of comedy: They lack a uniform structure and thrive on being safe, cheesy and, at times, downright cringeworthy. Their charm ultimately lies in the performance – a dad’s playful interaction with his audience, often his kids or his kids’ friends.

Yet even amid eye rolls and glares, dad jokes have a unique ability to bring families together.

This week, we also liked articles about lying, “magic mushrooms,” and conversations recorded without consent.

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Nick Lehr

Arts + Culture Editor

Sometimes lameness – not laughter – is the point. AHPhotoswpg/iStock via Getty Images

An homage to the dad joke, one of the great traditions of fatherhood

Ian Brodie, Cape Breton University; Moira Marsh, Indiana University

Cringe, corny and awkward − what’s not to love?

Fertilizer is a leading source of emissions of nitrous oxide, a planet-warming greenhouse gas. pixdeluxe/E+ via Getty Images

Food has a climate problem: Nitrous oxide emissions are accelerating with growing demand for fertilizer and meat – but there are solutions

Hanqin Tian, Boston College; Eric Davidson, University of Maryland, Baltimore; Pep Canadell, CSIRO; Rona Louise Thompson, Norwegian Institute for Air Research

The most comprehensive assessment yet of a powerful greenhouse gas shows which countries are driving the increase, and which ones are successfully cutting emissions.

Hunter Biden has been found guilty of making a false claim on a federal firearms application. AP Photo/Julio Cortez

How often do you lie? Deception researchers investigate how the recipient and the medium affect telling the truth

Christian B. Miller, Wake Forest University

Researchers are interested in whether who you’re communicating with and how you’re interacting affect how likely you are to lie.

The Conversation News Quiz 🧠

  • The Conversation U.S. weekly news quiz

    Fritz Holznagel, The Conversation

    Here’s the first question of this week’s edition:

    June 24 will be the second anniversary of the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and ended 50 years of national abortion rights. What was the name of that case?

    1. A. Dobbs v. Jackson
    2. B. Plessy v. Ferguson
    3. C. State of Texas v. McMurtry
    4. D. Roe v. Wade 2: The Empire Strikes Back

    Test your knowledge