Friday, 7 December 2012

"It was supposed to be

funny - and it wasn't," someone told me yesterday.
He was commenting on the radio station personality who had pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and fooled the person at the switchboard in a hospital in London.  The person commenting to me is one of the young students working in our local supermarket. We were chatting as he was scanning my lengthy grocery shop.
I confess I was surprised but he said,
       "There are some people you should never do that sort of thing to. They can't retaliate, I mean they may not want to but they can't even if they do want to."
I could understand what he was trying to say.
Later in the day someone else sent me a link to our Prime Minister solemnly informing us that the world will end on the 21st December - a misunderstood reference to a Mayan calendar date which has been given much undue publicity. This was supposed to be a joke too. Again, it was not funny, indeed it was silly. 
Some people will always take such things seriously and the consequences could be dangerous. When someone like our Prime Minister participates in such "jokes" it is muxh more likely to be taken seriously. The "digital age" allows such things to be refined and taken out of context. Show it to a gullible group of people and someone could easily feel compelled to do something very foolish indeed - and yes, those people do exist.
The other thing that bothers me is that they were making fun of the ancient culture of another country. If the group who obtained the cooperation of the Prime Minister had asked her to participate in a similar stunt involving the culture of the Aboriginal Dreamtime she would, rightly, have refused. The group would also have found itself in deep trouble with any number of groups. It would have been considered highly offensive.
My father loves jokes. He has a row of books containing jokes. If I ever see a new one I will buy it for him. I am giving my godson a book of jokes for Christmas. His sister had some at the same age.
My father loves telling jokes too. It drives me mad at times. He will tell Australian jokes and Scottish jokes - he was born here and his ancestors were Scottish. He will not make fun of other groups. He is happy for them to tell jokes against themselves but he does not believe he should. He is almost ninety and he still has a seemingly endless supply of jokes. He does not need to poke fun at other people in order to try and raise a laugh.
I know those things were supposed to be funny. I know people will disagree with me when I say I understand that they were supposed to be funny but I do not find them particularly amusing. 
Perhaps I really do just lack a sense of humour?


Anonymous said...

I had not considered that cultural point Cat - but it is a valid one.
And no, not funny - no doubt would have been an outsize row if TA had done it. Chris

Miriam said...

I agree!

Ruth in Ottawa said...

There's a huge difference between tact, tolerance, and courtesy on the one hand, and a supposed lack of sense of humour on the other - I think you fall into the former category, Cat! No, these things are not funny, just silly and childish, and the fact that adults were the perpetrators is really quite sad.

jeanfromcornwall said...

Regarding the hoax phone call - a short extract from it was broadcast on our TV and I noted that the nurse who answered the call had a slight accent as though she was either an immigrant or daughter of immigrants. So she would have been much less likely to pick up on how truly bad the Australian hoaxers attempts to imitate an upper class English accent were. I know how hopeless I am at discerning accents in French speakers.
So they got away with it, but it wasn't funny. I suppose they might make decent journalists one day, when (and if) they grow up!

jeanfromcornwall said...

I now am hoping that the pair of presenters are pleased with themselves. The nurse who they fooled into responding is dead. Probably suicide.
Two people need to crawl back under their stone.

catdownunder said...

I have just seen the news - apparently the two DJs "have taken themselves off the air" - or been told to lie low. I suspect the latter.
It is an appalling outcome to a silly prank and I feel very, very angry.
Thanks for your support Chris, Miriam, Ruth and Jean - you are so right.