GSOH noun n
I have always considered myself to have a good sense of humour. Actually if I am completely honest, maybe it is a little bit left of field and when my giggles become uncontrollable I tend to hide. However this week has tested me a little.
Humour can be very subjective. Add in the written sort and any mischief from the media and it can become tricky. Jonathan Swift found this in 1729 when he published his satirical pamphlet A Modest Proposal . Originally headed
A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick
it was intended to shock those outside Ireland, by use of the Juvenalian Satirical essay style, into an awareness of the terrible living conditions of the poor in Ireland at the time. Yet there are still to this day those who upon reading it for the first time take it at face value and believe that Swift really meant that the poor should practise cannibalism! And in places on the world wide web the odd out of context quote from the pamphlet can be found to prove this. Something which I find rather funny.
Earlier this week there was rather a kerfuffle when the media became aware of a lecture given by the novelist Hilary Mantel some time ago. This lecture - it is really necessary to read the whole thing - was published in the London Review of Books and Mantel - a historian as well as a novelist - discusses how the public have perceived Royalty, and perhaps more importantly been led to perceive Royalty since the Middle Ages. And inevitably present day Royals, in the person of the Duchess of Cambridge, became part of the discussion.
So this meant that present day media - also part of Mantel's discussion - found a nice 'quote' to take out of context and slammed the author for her 'spitefulness' against the Duchess. Even David Cameron and Ed Milliband commented, proving that their advisors hadn't read the whole piece either. My sense of humour was sadly lacking as I found nothing funny in this mass attack on a stimulating lecture by a good writer. GSOH bypass on my part, obviously.
But the same media, a couple of days later presented another Royal, praising his sense of humour. Yes dear old Prince Phillip. Who made a 'joke' to a Filipino nurse at a hospital he was visiting that her county 'must be half empty – you're all here running the NHS'. I found this unfunny and racist. GSOH bypass again and it was suggested on facebook that I didn't have a sense of humour when I commented in answer to someone else thus.
So it seems as if the World has Turned Upside Down, humour-wise anyway. That phrase is from a Civil War ballad. Which included Royalty in a big way too.
And now for the only joke I can ever remember:
What do you call three holes in the ground?
Well, well, well.
Photo courtesy of Is sense of humour quantifiable?