May 25, 2011

Nothing travels with more leaden wings on the Internet than irony.

There are people who claim that there is such a thing as a national sense of humour… . American humour, unless its Jewish, seems to me as heavy handed as is humanly possible. God only knows what people in the Amazon laugh at, though I expect there are a lot of insect bite jokes. The British are dry, the French like slapstick, the Irish would find a log entertaining and laugh at anything.

This has not been my full experience. People still have individual quirks that help certain events and situations seem very entertaining to them, regardless of what others think. Verbal jokes do tend to depend on shared perception and that is why in-jokes can seem offensive to outsiders. A gentle ribbing is acceptable among friends while outsiders don’t get it at all.

I have often had to get people to explain a joke in a foreign language to the utter death of all laughter. Apart from Colouche and a few women standups, French humour on the television seems silly to me… but that is because it is based on silliness.



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