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Around the World in Eighty Laughs: Random Musings on Irony, Septic Tanks, Whinging Poms, Frogs, Krauts, Wogs, Micks, Sheep Shaggers, Tussock Jumpers, PC Retards & SOLO's Longest Article Title
Girlfriend says to boyfriend: "Darling, how do you spell paedophile?"
Boyfriend says to girlfriend: "Gee, that's a big word for an eight year-old."
I like to set the level nice 'n' early.
There have been a few posts about Americans and their apparent lack of a sense of irony. I posited a theory some time ago on the old SOLO forum and I reiterate it now.
If Americans—if, mind you—truly do lack a sense of irony, then it's because American culture lends itself to straight talking devoid of any pompous niceties or specious circumlocution. Tact notwithstanding, you expect to hear what someone else thinks and you're expected to say what you actually mean. Now, a culture built on this type of in-your-face, "here's what's on my mind" type of interaction doesn't easily lend itself to calculating irony.
The real irony is in the fact that the exemplar of competitive, cut & thrust capitalist economies has this soft underbelly. This isn't a weakness but a response to the reality of living in a culture based on individual achievement and responsibility. If you have to take life seriously and can't pawn it off onto someone else, irony may not be your first outlet for fun. The type of humour that is peculiar to Jews all over the world is more in the American style. It mocks the exigencies and frequent silliness of life in a very offhand manner. It can be caustic, but never mean.
Two Yiddish women are reminiscing:
Woman: "Oh, it was wonderful when we were first married. He used to bring me flowers. I remember lying on the bed, hearing him run up the stairs to our room. He flung the door open, a huge bouquet in his hand. I just smiled and opened my legs."
Friend: "What? You mean, he didn't bring a vase?"
If you examine British humour like Atkinson and Elton's Blackadder, Monty Python, Cleese's Fawlty Towers and even modern stuff like Curtis' Four Weddings, Notting Hill, Love Actually, etc., then you can see, if it wasn't for irony and its close cousin sarcasm, Brit fun would be very unfunny indeed. I mean, what would they have left? It would be depressing to the point of suicide.
Fare like Love Actually and About a Boy have a poignancy that is refreshing in Brit flicks. That type of sentimentality is straight from the Yanks. It's a killer combination.
Rand's definition of humour as something that is metaphysically unimportant at first seems a bit droll and, well, unfunny. But, she's right. Isn't she really just putting her own slant on irony and sarcasm? Isn't saying something is metaphysically unimportant akin to saying (as defines irony) that it is juxtaposed to reality?
Comedy sans any irony simply becomes farce without any wit or intelligence. The difference is that Americans seem to employ irony in limited quantities. It's just not their natural approach to life. Whereas, for the Brits, it is.
So, what about the Antipodeans? The Australians are quite funny and it comes from their diverse cultural makeup. Dame Edna, Norman Gunston, Billy Birmingham. The Castle, The Games & Frontline are exemplary. Even New Zealand's best head over there to spread their wings, John Clarke being our most brilliant export. Kiwi humour is schizoid, often coarse, belligerent and self-conscious all at once. Our predominantly British ancestors and their cultural attaches, the dour Calvinist Scots, have always had an unjolly response to life in the colonies. Lately this has been exacerbated by New Zealand's miasmic politically correct culture turning us into an inward-looking bunch of self-immolating comic laggards.
Aussies tell jokes about us:
"What do you call a New Zealander in a suit? The defendant."
The Scots in their homeland are hilarious. Their wit is as dry as a Bondian martini. The immigrant Jews and Irish, and the dangerous proximity of the British, are cause enough for this trait.
Chick Murray via Billy Connolly:
"I went to stay at a boarding house. The landlady asked: 'Do you have a good memory for faces?' I replied: 'Yes.' She said: 'Just as well. There's no mirror in your room.'"
"My father and I went on a bus trip. On a steep hill the driver lost control. The bus careened down the slope and crashed into a wall at the bottom. Everyone was okay. I was completely unhurt, but my father had the presence of mind to kick my head in."
Life's hard north of the borders, but they can still laugh about it.
Polish jokes and the birch-welted, bum-smacking Scandinavians aside, Europe is a turgid wasteland of Burka'd Islamite solemnity and drunken, thigh-slapping lederhosen-osity. Imagine The Student Prince without Lanza. Despite thinking that Belsen was a gas, the Germans just aren't funny. Kraut humour seems to consist of smiling incongruously during the filming of hardcore porn. This is unfathomable, as no one lets the beast with two backs out of its cage for a harmless giggle. The odiferous French are just plain silly and, being the planet's self-appointed cultural judiciary, they don't take kindly to being laughed at. That's the real reason the Germans kicked the crap out of them in 1940, and everyone except the French seems to understand this.
How do the French advertise their World War II surplus rifles? Dropped once. Never fired.
To paraphrase Robin Williams: "No, Europe, we're not laughing at you, we're laughing around you."
You see, the politically correct don't quite understand humour. They just don't get the jokes, and their attempts at laughter are disingenuous and awkward. Their lives are so full of such abject stupidity that they can no longer tell the difference between Rand's metaphysically unimportant and manifestly important reality.
Gimme the semi-ironic Americans and flaccidly repressed British any day. Chuck in a wee dram of Scots, a Jew or two, a soused Irishman and you've got the perfect antidote to anything this world can throw at you.
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