I watched a wonderfully humorous film over the weekend called “French Dispatch”. It has a sophisticated humour with no holds barred and digs deep into the foibles of our humanity. It’s loosely based on an American magazine that was excellent in its day and its legendary editor.
What I really want to talk about is where do you find a daily dose of humour? Irreverent, witty, clever.
I did a bit of digging last year and I subscribed to The Shovel, an Australian humour newsletter, The Daily Mash, a British humour newsletter, and then the Onion and the sort of revived Weekly World News (“World’s Oldest Living Tamagotchi up for Adoption”). All of them revel in the idiocy of humans, especially politicians.
In this country there may be such a newsletter but I haven’t come across it. Yes, there is a lot of humour in the country but much of it is “underground”. You come across humour on the social media sites and on the quick videos (Tiktok is bringing about a surge in humour from South Africans).
These aren’t the only places you’ll find humour in the country. You hear a lot of humour on the streets and in homes where people are protected from the draconian censors (those who censor free speech). There are comedy shows galore and a few writers who lean towards the lighter side. An Afrikaans writer in one of the newspapers is probably one of the only true humourists in the country.
Interesting isn’t it that the Afrikaans language is under attack by the Minister of Ignorance. He believes Afrikaans is a foreign language. Funny that it isn’t spoken in any other country. He also doesn’t want to acknowledge that English is a foreign language. Any nincompoop will know that English was brought to the country by the British colonists.
That self same Minister of Ignorance by wanting to eradicate languages is attempting to wipe out local cultures. In this role he is the Minister of Cultural Annihilation.
Censorship of everything is high on the social agenda … in this country and others. Authoritarianism is rife especially because of the so-called Covid lockdowns. This country is introducing more censorship laws to clamp down on everything including social media and Internet websites.
It’s all about protecting themselves rather than protecting the populous. In the same vein there was a Minister of Financial Misery who raised the percentage of value added tax in the country. While he eats his tinned fish, the poor give the ruling party government 15% of any food they purchase. If you buy R1,000 of groceries from R1,000 of your government grant, the unemployed and disabed immediately have to give back R150 to the government. Now, with inflation the marauding government is raking in billions through the value added tax. It’s the same with petrol prices going through the roof and the government raking more than 30% off the top.
It’s probably a measure of democracy and maturity to allow humour to thrive. In those democracies I mentioned, mature democracies, there is a tolerance for the zany and bizarre, and poking fun at anything, especially politicians.
Ever since I was a teenager, I have enjoyed humour. The magazine to read at the time was MAD Magazine, which is still around. I forgot to mention I also subscribe to their social media feeds. The other day, they produced a template for any politician in the United States to provide a comment on mass shootings at schools and other public places. The shooting of children is a vile and criminal act, but they were able to tackle it from the banal statements that politicians make. The template is very well done, allowing anyone to tick off statements that apply.
And that’s the point, isn’t it? Even under heinous crimes, people find humour. Even when governments implement the worst policies, the people who suffer the most find humour as some sort of solace. No, it’s not about ignoring reality, it’s about showing the real reality for what it is.
Humour falls under free speech. Democracies which allow free speech are not afraid of humour. Now everybody knows that there are limits to everything. Humour needs to be bounded by good taste and not be aimed at specific individuals, unless, of course, they are politicians. But who gets to decide on what is in good taste and what is not? Some would say there should be no limits. Others would argue that decency must prevail. However, in the world of humour, anything that is sick or tasteless will get the thumbs down anyway. And hopefully, it will soon disappear.
Well, I wonder if someone brave enough or foolhardy enough will start a humour newsletter in this country under this prevailing regime. Maybe. Who knows? Anyway, as I said, you needn’t look too far to find humorists in everyone. Those who post their jokes on social media, those who make short videos and the writers who weave clever humour into their pieces (as I saw the other day in a serious journalistic offering).
Street humour and humour in the home will probably remain unsuppressed. Thank goodness. But with the liberal agenda trying to push itself into the home through various means, it’s probably wishful thinking. It’s a funny old world, and people who can endure the lunacy of avaricious governments and crooked politicians can still reach out to humour as a salve.
PS: On dubious authority, I see that the oldest Tamagotchi is said to have lived for 145 Tama years.