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Archive for the ‘Humour’ Category

Image by Bob van den Berg

Image by Bob van den Berg

Apologies for the huge gap between this post and the previous one. A whole summer been and gone – just like that!

Not for the first time I’ve been struggling with the notion that this whole blogging business is a complete waste of time. But there are a couple of reasons why I can’t seem to put it out of my head entirely.

One is that I simply feel driven to collate and redistribute those news items and nuggets of information that are relevant to my areas of interest in the best way I can. Another is my discovery that my own awareness of these subjects loses all focus unless I can bring them together in one place. That which previously loomed large tends to become diffused and scattered about amongst all the mundanities that compete for attention.  The act of search and research, followed by the effort of putting things into new words to create a post never fails to sharpen the mind, clarify the opaque, and sweep away the cobwebs. Hardly a revelation to all the other bloggers and writers out there I’m sure, but there you go – we all have to gain insight in our own way.

So here goes then – let’s give it another shot and pick up where I left off – laughing at my current favourite video. You can actually see Jeremy’s mind boggling here as he struggles to stretch it beyond conventional limitations. But give him credit for at least trying!

Wise Fool

Humour is a much underestimated but effective weapon in deflating pomposity, as we can plainly see in the video. But while far from being the first of his kind to poke fun at our ridiculous beliefs and constructions Brand seems to have the knack of getting into close quarters rather than being satisfied taking pot-shots from a distance. Neither does he hide behind “irony” or invented personas. He tends to call a spade a spade, even if we sometimes wonder if it’s actually the same implement that we know and understand.

5ba4c326c420aa3572c6bc4145c6fb5dI doubt that I’ll ever be voting for Russell Brand but I could almost weep with joy at the fact that someone with his wit and edge is willing to stand in plain view, speaking his mind in language that infuriates as much as it entertains. In this he is the archetypal trickster, the mythological wise fool, much of whose power comes from his fearlessness. The trickster takes neither the world nor himself with any degree of seriousness but invariably functions as a catalyst for the actions of others, leaving himself unscathed by the experience and skipping off into the sunset to the next gig. But then I’m sure that Russell Brand knows this story very well.

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Two great scientists go head to head in this clip. Self-cancelling algebra, escargot foi gras champignon a la grecque en croute, and my all time favourite golfing scene all in the space of a few minutes – good value!

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Science in the Dark Ages –  a shining example of reason and logic, or the blind leading the blind?

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It seems there’s something inherently funny about the British trying to get to grips with a foreign language. Even the relatively familiar ones like French and German present insurmountable obstacles and endless opportunities for self-deprecation.

I love the  Armstrong & Miller sketch below, partly because the situation has such a horrible familiarity to it. Haven’t we all been trapped in a similar conversation at some point? Or at least enough of one to know exactly what it feels like. A brilliant example of what to do when you’re in a hole – just keep digging. Smashing, absolutely smashing!

The Whole Hog

Of course when we do finally get the hang of it there’s no going back. Why not just adopt the entire lifestyle? Soon your old life will seem like a distant dream…

Atypical

Eddy Izzard doesn’t seem to have too much trouble switching from one language – or accent – to another. But then he’s not really what you’d call typically English, or typically anything at all come to that. A complete one-off and a decent candidate for the title of World’s Funniest Man.

Liberating 

It just goes to show that embracing a new language can be a liberating experience, and as in the case of Eddy Izzard could lead to flights of fancy that can literally go anywhere. Lets face it, potentially you have a whole new bag of tricks at your disposal, or looking at it another way, endless new ways of making a fool of yourself.

As American author Barbara Ehrenreich apparently once said: “There is the fear, common to all English-only speakers, that the chief purpose of foreign languages is to make fun of us. Otherwise, you know, why not just come out and say it in English?”

It’s not true of course, foreigners don’t exist merely to make us look silly. There’s no need – we do a pretty good job of that ourselves at times.

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Here’s something to lighten things up a bit after the heavy weather of my last post.

In this clip the late great Dave Allen manages to convey exactly the right degree of bewilderment as he tells the story of his introduction to the Catholic Church. In doing so he gently but firmly exposes the all-knowing adults, the nuns in the story, as purveyors of fantasy and scary mumbo jumbo.

 

I remember on several occasions as a very small child being scared witless by adults who stood over me bearing God’s love in one hand, and a bag full of nasty tricks and horrible stories in the other. Which would you choose?

Billy Connolly has his own unique way of exorcising his demons. He’s not subtle but his directness certainly helps clear the mind.

 

Just because they pump you full of nonsense when you’re too young to know better doesn’t make it true. A long time ago someone told me that, and I’ve carried those words with me like a snakebite antidote ever since, firmly believing that all organised religion is designed to block the path to your own spirituality.

 

“Goodnight, thank you, and may your God go with you”.

Dave Allen

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