Humour is the only topic taken seriously in Britain, the universal sauce that makes ideas palatable. In Britain, it is safer to forget one’s umbrella than one’s humour. says Agnès Poirier in the Guardian.
Here’s David Aaronovitch in the The Times on the North Korean Nuclear tests:
THE NORTH KOREAN regime is apparently so bad that even George Galloway has never been there to offer his support. Or maybe that’s because it’s so broke
Poirier touches on some interesting points – particularly noting Tony Blair’s Labour Party conference gag about Cherie and the bloke next door, which was indeed very British humour. But she ends with this:
So, what to do with this treasure at the heart of Britain? First, part ways with the humourless neocons of the US and meet the challenge of the so-called clash of civilisations with the best of British humour. Take down today’s fanatics, who cannot laugh at themselves, with your Weapons of Mass Derision.
Nice line (not funny Agnes, but a nice line). Of course the problem is that piss-taking for effect only works if the other side sees the joke. As Poirier accepts, there isn’t much evidence that Islamists would share a giggle over some Osama gags. In any case, I don’t see much evidence that British comedians would be prepared to get stuck into a routine about Islamic fundamentalism. George Bush gags certainly, Pope jokes no problem, but the other lot are off limits. I’m not sure why this is – maybe we are too scared, maybe our comedians are trapped in the limits of safe humour, or maybe there just isn’t much funny about people whose goal in life is to commit mass-murder. Who knows?
It is possible to have a laugh about the most darkest of subjects though. I have a wonderful, little book of East European political jokes about life under communism for example. But it wasn’t humour that ‘took down’ the communists – it merely played a role in making life a little more palatable, of taking the tension out of repression for the odd moment and that is really all we could expect humour to do in the face of Islamist terrorism.
Which does make it interesting that 90 percent of the political humour that has been produced since 9-11 has been taking the piss out of our side. What’s that all about?
Gene adds: Photoshop can be a wicked weapon of humor, as demonstrated by Harry’s Place reader “uptight”‘s recent effort to create a kinder, gentler image for the jihadis:
Gene adds: And of course anyone who hasn’t seen the “Family Guy” take on Osama bin Laden should watch this.