Accent on Humour

Jaycee returns as Guest Author, with an interesting piece on generational changes in types, and appreciation, of humour. Thank you, Jaycee – it is a subject of considerable interest to me.

Recently, I wrote a cameo piece about a cross-dresser and the time and place he came out publicly in a small country town. I wrote it as (I thought) a humorous piece, acting on the logic that where or whenever such an event happened, be it in the place chosen for its degree of comfort and camaraderie, or in the main street in full drag, it was bound to be confronting in a pathos – bathos scenario that could occasion a few laughs from the distance of many years hence. I sent it to a younger person employed in an local government artistic / cultural occupation as an adjunct to a conversation we had on certain local issues. I was mistaken … at least, mistaken in the perception of what a new generation of readers finds funny. Perhaps, as has been suggested, my aged, male, working-class perception of what is or is not funny is now thoroughly dated! “It’s just not funny anymore” has been at odd times leveled accusingly at yours truly. I’ve had my own doubts before … it may be time to believe it!

Though, when one analyses the condition that creates a moment of humour, so that a laugh involuntarily springs from our lips, it is understood as the sudden leap from pathos to bathos and the swiftly altered situation thereof – like the flaying of arms and legs in a sudden banana-slip moment – a kind of slapstick suddenness … but something has changed. There now seems to be some hesitancy to guffaw innocently at others foolishness or mishaps. You think about it – how long since you have heard a string of good jokes? I used to hear many … one tuned one’s ear for the grand joke from a good joke teller. They were considered rare treasures … one good joke could make or break a reputation in any front-bar! You remember that “Clayton’s … the drink you have when …” advert’ with … what’s isname? … oh yeah! … Jack Thompson, THAT was the accepted locale for the dispersion of male humour. I’m sure that other gender has a similar locale!

Now it’s all gone, but people are still laughing, the guffaws are still coming … but what are we now laughing at, if not socially incorrect slapstick? I think we are more inclined to seek out humour in the more perverted absurdities of life – in the increasingly bizarro-behaviours of people and situations. I think we are finding more laughs in a kind of sado-humour than we did before … and it is a worrying thing. I’m not saying certain ghastly racist/sexist jokes aren’t deserving of the dustbin of history, but there is a worrying criticism of satire that is very over the top censorship. There seems less inclination to humour, and more inclination to litigate such skits as one would find on The Hampster or Ripping Yarns or Python etc.

Yet, I have seen rise alongside such cruel treatment that one occasionally views on a channel-surf expedition of Reality TV, an appreciation of sado-humour, where cruel or victim-selection programs top the ratings. I have watched several so-called funny home-videos skits that seem to me to be brutal and dangerous … one can see such moments have been deliberately staged to get the video on the show. Same with those competitive cooking / singing programs etc. There can be no better display of sado-humour than one sees on such channels … yet they are the top-rating programs. What gives?

One can track the evolution of such sado-humour back to the days of try-hard Hollywood black humour, where the big studios tried their hand at so-called crime-comedy. I remember the hit movie Beverly Hills Cop was the beginning of the genre … it was billed as a comedy, yet I counted seven quite brutal killings in the show (I was a “forced” viewer – was taken to the cinema against my better judgement by acquaintances who “just loved it and you will too!!”) … I hated it – it made me wince. I’m a sensitive bloke.

Indeed, the humour of the aged, white, working male may be dated beyond redemption … but the basis for such humour, i.e., the situation comedy surely will not date. The spectator / viewer, looking on to the unfolding of a unscripted public slapstick moment, whether by accident or by self-deprecation, surely must be allowed a release of laughter at the ironic absurdity of the situation without guilt or remorse, rather than be driven to approvingly laugh sneeringly, cruelly, publicly, at the misfortune and hard-luck of others.

Bring back The Hampster crew, I say!


669 thoughts on “Accent on Humour

  1. I wonder if the relatives of the plane crash victims have asked to speak to Abbott as he promised he would listen to them. After this tragic situation they would need a great deal of sympathy. I just think that Abbott, being such an insensitive one, might just put his foot in it as usual.

  2. While Abbott was shouting and big noting as 'leading the world' the Dutch were praising the Ukraine Recovery effort— Peta (@pthr9) July 22, 2014

    A bit of a contrast there to Abbott’s ravings about a shambles. There is a strong streak of very nasty racism and ethnic bashing in all Abbott’s comments. We cannot trust those tricksy foreign types to do anything properly, they just aren’t capable, and they have tampered with the evidence (no-one but Abbott has come up with that insult). Our MSM are pushing the ‘nasty foreigners’ line too, with their OTT stories about looting that do not seem to tally with eye-witness accounts from the crash site.

    What a nasty, xenophobic, ignorant mob Australians are under this government. As the leader goes so follows the herd.

  3. There is a strong streak of very nasty racism and ethnic bashing in all Abbott’s comments.

    It’s palpable, leone.

    Just think if it had happened in the UK or the US. The reaction would have been totally different. My opinion is that if it had happened in France, for instance, and Abbott had behaved in this same manner, the French govt would have expressed deep outrage.

  4. I would be quite interested in Putins reaction to the idiot if he fired up a few C17s full of poor troops and said he is sending them to the crash site whether Putin likes it or not.

  5. The absolute worst thing about Abbott’s posturing is that we know he does not mean a word of the ‘caring’ smarm that drips from his mouth. He has leapt onto this disaster simply as a way to promote himself. He can barely conceal this smirk of delight at the opportunity. We know that when the first plane arrives bringing home remains Abbott, ghoul that he is, will be front and centre to meet it, pawing at mourners and leering at the cameras, milking the moment for all he can.

    Julia Gillard wept when she visited the tsunami and earthquake devatation in Japan. Her warm and very human reactions did not win her a poll boost, just trumpeted criticism for deciding to wear sombre black. Abbott smirks his way through yet another presser, every time his fantastical claims of Russian corruption and incompetence become more bizarre. There has not been a tear, not a sign of any deep emotion, just excitement at being able to tell a stack of whoppers, a rabid delight in making more and more outlandish claims. Just as well the rest of the world is ignoring him.

    Our lickspittle MSM fawn and grovel, right on cue. What a stateman is Abbott! What a marvellous diplomat! What a triumph! Surely this will be ensure he wins the next eleventy elections. Delusional fools, but I expected nothing else.

  6. gigilene

    One thing they will reveal is what they were told to do by traffic control in Kiev. Were they directed further north and lower to go around storms as suggested by another pilot.

  7. SOUTH Korean police say they have found a body of a fugitive billionaire businessman sought over April’s ferry disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

    Police officer Wu Hyung-ho told a televised news conference on Tuesday that the body was found at a site in southern South Korea on June 12. He said results of DNA and fingerprint tests showed they matched those of Yoo Byung-eun

  8. Should also note that they’re pumping up a little uptick on Essential – which they usually ignore – for all they’re worth. In the process ignoring the much less rosy Neilsen taken over the same period. I’ve seen some reportage of Essential which has suddenly taken in interest in its two-week rolling average, and posited that the recent proportion of it is as high as 49-51. That’s something you almost never hear when they’re mentioned.

    Give them 24 hours and they should be able to polish that up into some kind of ‘nationwide acclaim’ for Abbott.

    The other bit of bootstrapping I’m noticing is that, on the one hand, a lot of those defending Abbott are saying he’s doing what a reasonably competent PM ought to do – you know, the, “well, what should he have done then?/ what would Gillard or Shorten have said differently?”. But at the same time they’re lauding his statements as something magnificent and that he’s leading the world. I’ve said this before, but we’re in a bit of a sorry state when Abbott aspiring to competence in one aspect of his job is something we’re expected to applaud.


    Anyway, the upshot of this is that for the moment the MSM can heave a sigh of relief, put aside their mealy-mouthed excuse-making for the budget mess and the policy shambles, and just straight out say nice things about Abbott for a while. But he’ll do something else stupid soon enough. You can always rely on him for that. Usually when they get a bit of a poll boost they come over all hubristic and overplay it. They think that a bit of praise for one set of tightly-controlled statements on one issue somehow translates to universal approval for their entire government, and they start doing dumb things with the political capital they think they’ve earnt.

    He’s already had to back down and say Putin’s done the right thing. So there’s that line of attack gone. He’s reduced to misleading statements over the handling of the crash site, which is rapidly becoming yesterday’s news anyway, now the bodies and the black boxes have been removed. He still has ‘look what we did at the UN’ to milk, though.

  9. HoJo doing a bit of “product differentiation” . The voice of reason

    He said nobody knows what the fallout will be from the downing of MH17, but he hopes Russia still attends the summit.

    “The Russians have said they will co-operate with all this – let’s find out if they are fair dinkum or not,” Mr Hockey told Sky News while on an official visit to New Zealand.
    “Rarely are great things achieved by excluding people from the conversation,” he said

  10. gigilene
    I think a lot of people see through Abbott but the MSM won’t mention that. They have their agenda, they have their lines and their orders, we are to be told Abbott is a marvelous statesman, a diplomatic paragon, a world leader. We all know it is nothing but lies and we are not alone.

  11. ” Why do WE, us here, see that it’s all a mask, and so many don’t seem to? It’s forever a mystery to me.”…as in many facets of work / life and politics..there seems to be only a smaller percentage that will use logic and reason as the first principle of analysis….don’t ask me why…I see it all the time in the work place…many people in authoritative positions just stumbling along..sometimes making the biggest stuff-ups imaginable, yet still considered capable administrators….we all see it time and again….I sometimes wonder if it is a case of too much nurturing or too long living at home or not enough life-experience….but it does seem rather child-like at times.

  12. Apparently Seven News are crowing about a Reachtel poll which says Abbott’s approval rating is soaring. Not exactly true, as it turns out. It was only approval of the way he was handling the MH17 issue, not approval of the man himself. 2PP barely moved, incidentally.

  13. Just trying to make myself laugh tonight, and Full Frontal skits are doing the trick. Like this one. Just the idea of a really posh sarcastic art critic interviewing football players in the news is so absurd, I wish it really did happen sometimes.

  14. “Her warm and very human reactions did not win her a poll boost”

    Nor was she looking for one. The idiot, OTOH, …

  15. Prime Minister Tony Abbott welcomed the UN’s stance on MH17.
    “Today’s resolution lends the full weight of the Security Council in condemning the attack and extending the international community’s deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of all the victims of this tragic incident,” Mr Abbott said in a statement.

    “Australia will continue to do everything in its power to ensure this barbaric act is thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.”

    A reasonable human being would have said: “Through this resolution we should find out what happened.”

    Not enough for Your Hairy-chested Idiot.

  16. Reachtel taken last night.

    Strong Abbott backing
    Yahoo!7 July 22, 2014, 7:00 pm
    Tony Abbott’s forceful response to the downing of MH17 has won strong endorsement from the Australian voters. Mark Riley reports

    They seriously over egg it on the PM (watch the vid & you’ll see what I mean). The figures are…

    TPP L/NP 48(+1) ALP 52(-1)
    Primaries L/NP 36(+1) ALP 37(-1) Greens 10(0) PUP 8(+1)

    Abbott’s handling of MH17
    Very Good 31%
    Good 20%
    Satisfactory 26%
    Poor 13%
    Very Poor 10&

    No full figures on the ReachTEL site yet, but keep an eye on the site below over the next day or two. No doubt there is far more to the poll (leader ratings etc).


    Good reading for BK and other U.S. politics watchers
    This is important and will have knock on federal affects. Very much against the national Coalition trend.

  19. Geez, I wouldn’t call those figures on his handling of MH17 a strong endorsement. Most of his base loved it, the rest plus a few in the middle liked it, everyone else thought it was middling-to-bad. It’s better than he usually gets, but it’s nothing to get excited about. If asked, I’d probably call it satisfactory, purely based on the fact that it didn’t provoke an international incident and was about as good as he’s capable of. And I can’t stand the man.

  20. Good evening all,

    Interesting few days as the Australian OM create a different take on what is actually happening.

    Abbott is cocky atm as the OM push him as the great statesman.

    Because of this he will over egg ( or already has perhaps ) as the international community take over the investigation.

    The next few days will be crucial as Abbott loses control of the narative. He and the Australian OM will start to look real shonky.

    Expect some ” shocks ” as the real story emerges re the crash site, the “looting ” etc etc.

    All will not be as the international media and pollies have pushed so far I think.

  21. ” Prime Minister Tony Abbott welcomed the UN’s stance on MH17.
    “Today’s resolution lends the full weight of the Security Council in condemning the attack and extending the international community’s deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of all the victims of this tragic incident,” Mr Abbott said in a statement.”
    AMAZING !!…coming from the man and the party that many times mocked the capacity of the UN. to be an active body in global affairs….and indeed, more than once called for the dismantling of that worthy institution.

  22. A strong endorsement? Let’s not forget the facts. Abbott’s first outburst angered Putin, so much so that he refused to take phone calls from him. Finally Putin talked to Abbott, but only after he had spoken with every other leader.

    Abbott has not done one thing that is of any use to anyone so far. All he has done is pose for the cameras, , chestbeat, announce a phoney campaign with a name that would make a shonky advertising agency cringe at its awfulness and threaten to send Houston to the Ukraine.

    The UNSC resolution, written by diplomatic staff not by Abbott, was so awful it had to be re-worded before it was presented for a vote. The outcome of the vote was a foregone conclusion, not some sort of coup for Australia.

    And that good cop bad cop story? Pure Murdoch fantasy meant to show Abbott in a good light now the gloss is wearing off and people are beginning to realise he really has not done anything at all.

  23. Well, there you go Leone. People react to the advertising (read: media reportage), not the issue itself. As I mentioned earlier, this was demonstrated clearly with plain packaging on cigarettes. Let people make their own minds up and they’ll come to logical conclusions. Attack them with ‘messaging’ and they’ll respond to that.

  24. Martin is a Statee Vic ALP MP. the article is from today’s Oz. If you can’t read, you should be able to click on the image & enlarge it, or save it to your PC then zoom in.

    Bill is going to speak at the ACL conf, which disappointments me as ai supect its a bad idea, but maybe he could turn it to an advantage. I saw twitter chat & the ACL link, but this was the only coverage I could find on it so far. Tassie Times & some of the gay press mentioned it, asking him to talk about SSM there. No MSM coverage yet, I was wondering if there would be a backlash to Bill attending.

    As you may recall, Julia Gillard cancelled a speech there after someone at the ACL said something inflamatory. I think they are a tiny group, who sway no real votes. Its odd to see pollies pander to them.

  25. Nappy opines that “hard work” would get him over the line.

    Does that mean he thinks getting out of his comfy chair will do the trick?

  26. Unicorn alert.

    This is totally weird. How on Earth could the current rulers of Oz convince anyone to do anything positive.

    Australia could prove critical in convincing Russia to change laws preventing heroin addicts from accessing opiate treatment programs, the UN secretary general’s special envoy for Aids in eastern Europe and central Asia said.

  27. I’m doing something, I’m doing something!

    Louis van Gaal’s first major move since becoming Manchester United manager takes place on Tuesday morning when the training pitches at the club’s Carrington base are ripped up to be replaced by Desso, a synthetic-grass hybrid material.

    With Van Gaal also ordering that trees be planted at Carrington to make the facility more sheltered from the wind, the manager has wasted little time in starting to shape the club.

    The about to become the most hated (by his players) manager in English football should concentrate on getting his players fit and in game-winning frame of mind. If it’s not too much to ask, he could try to work on formation and tactics that fit with the players he signed-up with.

  28. Billie (& Gravel),

    Has Fiona’s day gone to plan?

    It started with the possible replacement of curtains in DD’s bedroom (now the spare bedroom). It escalated rapidly (me mum’s fault) into new curtains for moi’s bedroom, then my bedroom to be repainted, then something to be done about the yukky ancient carpet – I know, let’s replace it with a pretty rug … erm, that means sanding and painting the edges of the room … and what about OH’s even older yukky carpet? … of course, and maybe a much nicer wardrobe to replace the 1920s model in moi’s room … and perhaps professional removalists would be a good plan to put the furniture back onto the recently painted floors …?

    The replacement of DD’s curtains was only a twinkle in me mum’s and my eyes the Saturday before OH left for Queensland. By the time he was about to leave (Wednesday 2 July), curtains, rugs, removalists and painters were being coordinated. Room painting was completed 9 July, floor sanding and painting completed 16 July, “new” wardrobe delivered and installed 19 July, on 21 July prof removalists had every stick of furniture exactly where wanted, the same day the rugs were laid, then today the curtains and blinds were installed.

    OH arrived at 5:45pm.

    He did not have a heart attack. He did not throw a tantrum. He is – on the contrary – decidedly chuffed.

    So he should be: he has an extra wardrobe in his room; all his dry-cleanable clothes have been cleaned and hung up neatly; and for the first time in 15 years his room his room is neat and free of dust.

    It’s been both fun and interesting putting all this together – I’m seriously considering a career change to project management. And I’m so grateful to my darling mother for an extremely generous birthday present.

    Lots of good links

  30. Rage is just lots of anger. Wrath is calculated anger (“I’m going to get this bastard and this is how I’m going to do it.”)


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