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english humour and political coorectness

updated mon 11 feb 02


Paul Taylor on sun 10 feb 02

Dear Paul and ivor

I did not see Paul's original post.

I must come to the defense of my generation. Ivor is right In so much as
the 'Goons' were one the first to do the comedy of the bizarre on radio so
the energy of creativity is with them. I hasten to add that I believe this
style of comedy was done in Germany before the fascist ira but as with any
art form there are no firsts.

However to indicate how funny Fawlty Towers (Basel Fawlty's Hotel) was ;
the national grid had to be prepared to turn up the power at the end of the
programs because the whole of Britain and Ireland was watching this half
hour comedy. When it was over every family would mark a highly emotional
experience by making tea. So every kettle in the land was tuned on a half
second after the credits ended. The Electricity supply company just about
coped. If you can get the videos from a library I can promise they are very

The English can be, reserved, cold, snobbish, and stuck up, but to
balance all this negativety they have the ability to laugh at themselves and
these self imposed cultural rules. There is a tradition of caricatures that
have all the disfunctional behaviors in spades. One was called Alf Garnet
and the next most famous is Basil Fawlty . The current one is Mrs Bucket
(which she insists is pronounced Bou-kay).

Some of the comedy is racist and sexist and would definitely offend any
body that had no sense of irony because the jokes are there in a context
that ridicule racism and sexism etc.
I think this is the argument we all have with political correctness .
political correctness as a 'rule' becomes absurd, because offensiveness, be
it racist et all, is dependent on context.

I remember putting the fishing rod together while one of the fishermen in
the company told a joke about "darkies" I was a bit astounded to see the
Pakistani among us laughing a long with the rest; but not to include his
racial group in the jokes told about us all: the dumb Irish - usually told
best by the Irish - the stupid english and the deviant Welsh, would have
been racist by omission.

I will add a caveat that I know the power of language and the hidden
agendas that it contains. I spend most of my thinking unpicking , illogical
sets, and sloppy rhetoric. however I try to be careful and keep a sense of
hummer. And us Brits take our sense of hummer very seriously.

Regards from Paul Taylor

Fifteen minutes of fame is all we ever need.

> From: iandol
> Reply-To: Ceramic Arts Discussion List
> Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2002 16:50:07 +1030
> Subject: English Humour
>> Who is Basil Fawlty? I'm dying of curiousity.
> Dear Paul in Doyle,
> If you go to the BBC (UK) webb site you should pick up on the video tapes of
> these programmes. Visual humour as per modern "Slap Stick". Not a patch on the
> audio humour of "The Goons"
> Ivor Lewis.