“Jeremy Clarkson, Ricky Gervais and Andy Gray have all paid the price for causing offence. But are their comments any different from the merciless banter heard on the street every day?”
A few comments:
Hierarchies of oppressions, competitive offence taking, competition for the moral authority of ‘victim status’, the bastardisation of the language of equal opportunities into nothing more than a form of class oppression, moral self-aggrandisement at other’s expense - the rank cesspit world of the privileged dinner-party liberal.
2011 was no different to 1978 … except in 1978 anyone offended by something would have had to put pen to paper to write a letter to an editor to air their opinion with the chances of their letter being picked for publication being close to zero.
There has to be boundaries in the media because it influences people etc.. Although many comedians work on shock humour, people need to realise for example saying ‘that’s so gay’ (turning the word gay into meaning something that’s bad) is offensive whether the person saying it means to be offensive or not. What I’m trying to say is… People can say what they like to be funny and to their mates but they have to be mature when they get people disliking them for it and respect that what they said could be deemed as wrong (especially if it is something personal to whoever has taken offense) Instead of making fun of their attempts to explain why they took offense, just apologise instead. Everyone has freewill to say what they like after all, apart from when they’re encouraging ignorance and acting above everyone else like the way ricky gervais blatantly was. To sum up - people should be able to use shock humour as long as they apologise to anyone who genuinely took offense and accept the consequences…
This is a topic of which I’ve still yet to form a ‘solid’ opinion on. I see both sides as potentially negative and positive currently. But am not sure where I truly am on the subject. I do believe in context over content (you have the right to be offended, but I see no point in being offended by things that are meant light-heartedly). At the same time, I encourage the caution of using certain terms due to their offensive associations. Particularly as I’ve been noticing the impact of people’s jokes over people’s behaviour or thoughts.
I didn’t think so before, but I’ve found that people actually start believing in their jokes (particularly if these are accepted jokes). It’s kind of disturbing sometimes. Quite a few criminals have apparently said that rape isn’t bad and everyone knows it because they make jokes about it and it’s fine to do so. But then, I wonder if paedophiles find that ‘cause, although many joke about them, they’re despised in reality with a disturbing passion.
Ha ha, I’ve never watched this (the US version of The Office). But whenever I see .gifs of these two guys… always makes me smile. Ha ha! So mean to poor Dwight!
Reading more about British humour…
A strong theme of sarcasm and self-deprecation runs throughout British Humour. Emotion is often buried under humour in a way that seems insensitive to other cultures. Jokes are told about everything and no subject is taboo.
Innuendo in British humour can be followed through history and folk songs are often littered with it. Shakespeare wrote much comedy and was not above a little smut to get a laugh, as in Hamlet act 4 scene v:
Young men will do’t if they come to’t / By Cock, they are to blame.
Main features within British humour / sitcoms:
- Making fun of British stereotypes (as in Little Britain).
- Harsh sarcasm and bullying, though with the bully usually coming off worse than the victim (The Office).
- The embarrassment of social ineptitude (The Inbetweeners).
- The lovable rogue, often from the impoverished working class, trying to ‘beat the system’ and better himself (Black Books).
- The British class system, especially pompous or dim-witted members of the upper/middle classes or embarrassingly blatant social climbers (Absolutely Fabulous).
- The ‘war’ between parents/teachers and their children (Outnumbered).
- The humour, not necessarily apparent to the participants, inherent in everyday life (this includes all the above, but also shows like Come Dine with Me).
- Black humour, in which topics and events that are usually treated seriously are treated in a humorous or satirical manner (The League of Gentlemen).
- Surreal and absurd humour (The Mighty Boosh).
- Disrespect to members of the establishment and authority (Spitting Image, but shown in recent panel shows, such as Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You).
Humour relating to race and regional stereotypes could also be found. These stereotypes are somewhat fond, and these jokes would not be taken as xenophobic, this sort of affectionate stereotype is also exemplified by ‘Allo ‘Allo!, this programme, although set in France in the second World War, and deliberately performed in over the top accents, mocked British stereotypes as well as foreigners.
Although racism was a part of British humour, it is now frowned upon. Most racist themes in popular comedy since the 1970’s are targeted against the racist rather than in sympathy.
A subset of British comedy consciously avoids traditional situation comedy themes and story lines to branch out into more unusual topics or narrative methods. Such freedom and experimentation has produced such series as The League of Gentlemen, Marion and Geoff, 15 Storeys High, Spaced, Black Books and Green Wing. [Source].
I love the last three shows listed. I watched them all recently. =D
お笑い (owarai). Modern Japanese comedy.
Next to ダジャレ [dajare] (puns), I notice this a lot when I watch Japanese shows:
The boke (ボケ). From the verb bokeru 惚ける or 呆ける, which carries the meaning of “senility” or “air headed-ness,” and is reflected in this performer’s tendency for misinterpretation and forgetfulness is the “simple-minded” member of an owarai kombi (“tsukkomi and boke”, or vice versa) that receives most of the verbal and physical abuse from the “smart” tsukkomi because of the boke’s misunderstandings and slip-ups.
The tsukkomi (突っ込み). From the verb tsukkomu (突っ込む), meaning something like “butt in”, this is often the role of the partner to the boke in an owarai kombi, refers to the role the second comedian plays in “butting in” and correcting the boke’s errors. It is common for tsukkomi to berate boke and hit them on the head with a swift smack; traditionally, tsukkomi often carried a fan as a multi-purpose prop, one of the uses for which was to hit the boke with.
Boke and tsukkomi are loosely equivalent to the roles of “funny man” or “comic” (boke) and “straight man” (tsukkomi) in the comedy duos of western culture. Outside of owarai, boke is sometimes used in common speech as an insult, similar to “idiot” in English, or baka in Japanese. [Source].
But it’s mostly seen in Manzai (漫才), a traditional style of stand-up comedy in Japanese culture, which usually involves two performers (manzaishi) —a straight man (tsukkomi) and a funny man (boke)—trading jokes at great speed. Most of the jokes revolve around mutual misunderstandings, double-talk, puns and other verbal gags.
Speaking of bad-asses and humour…
A laconic phrase may be used for efficiency (as in military jargon), for philosophical reasons, or for better disarming a long, pompous speech.
Spartans were expected to be men of few words, to hold rhetoric in disdain, and to stick to the point. Loquaciousness was seen as a sign of frivolity, and totally unbecoming of sensible, down-to-earth Spartan peers. They were especially famous for their dry wit, which we now know as “laconic humour”. This can be contrasted with the ”Attic wit”, the refined, poignant, delicate humour of Sparta’s chief rival Athens.
One famous example comes from the time of the invasion of Philip II of Macedon.
With key Greek city-states in submission, he turned his attention to Sparta and sent a message: “If I win this war, you will be slaves forever.” In another version, Philip proclaims: “You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city.” According to both accounts, the Spartan ephors [leaders] sent back a one word reply: “If.”
Subsequently, both Philip and his son, Alexander, would avoid Sparta entirely.
[Source]. Even despite their losses, they were still feared, eh.
Americans, the British and ‘irony’.
Ironic statements (verbal irony) typically imply a meaning in opposition to their literal meaning. A situation is often said to be ironic (situational irony) if the actions taken have an effect exactly opposite from what was intended. [Source].
[The below is taken from an article written by Simon Pegg].
“Americans don’t do irony.” This isn’t strictly true. Although it is true that we British do use irony a little more often than our special friends in the US. It’s like the kettle to us: it’s always on, whistling slyly in the corner of our daily interactions. To Americans, however, it’s more like a nice teapot, something to be used when the occasion demands it. This is why an ironic comment will sometimes be met with a perplexed smile by an unwary American. Take this exchange that took place between two friends of mine, one British (B), the other American (A):
B: “I had to go to my grandad’s funeral last week.”
A: “Sorry to hear that.”
B: “Don’t be. It was the first time he ever paid for the drinks.”
A: “I see.”
Now, my American friend was being neither thick nor obtuse here; he simply didn’t immediately register the need to bury emotion under humour. This tendency is also apparent in our differing use of disclaimers. When Americans use irony, they will often immediately qualify it as being so, with a jovial “just kidding”, even if the statement is outrageous and plainly ironic. For instance…
A: “If you don’t come out tonight, I’m going to have you shot… just kidding.”
Of course, being America, this might be true, because they do all own guns and use them on a regular basis (just kidding). Americans can fully appreciate irony.
They just don’t feel entirely comfortable using it on each other, in case it causes damage. A bit like how we feel about guns. [Source].
Taken from someone’s blog post + a comment on it:
The American sense of humour is generally more slapstick than that in Britain. I think this arises from a cultural difference between the two. Their jokes are more obvious and forward, a bit like Americans themselves. British jokes, on the other hand, tend to be more subtle but with a dark or sarcastic undertone. There is usually a hidden meaning. This may stem from the fact that British culture is more reserved than American culture. [Source].