English humour has never travelled well across cultures, and I think that’s probably true for most humour, regardless of its origin. Even when English humor is appreciated by people from other cultures, the nuances are often missed. English humour is so dry, it’s difficult to distinguish between actual humour and broadly-held real beliefs. So, just for fun, I am including a blog this week which reflects an English sense of humour. In doing so, I acknowledge that these examples are English humour and not necessarily humour that is appreciated in other parts of the United Kingdom, which have their own distinct versions.
The following are examples of English humour that originated in the two World Wars and, most probably, way before that. However, they are equally true of English opinion today even though their context is obviously different. One of my readers sent me this updated version earlier this week.
The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent Russian threats, and have therefore raised their security level from “miffed” to “Peeved”. Soon, though, security levels may be raised again yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross”.
The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the Blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.
The Russians have been re-categorised from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance”. The last time the English issued “A Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.
The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Lets’ Get the Bastards”. They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British Army for the last 300 years.
The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide”. The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender”. The change in level was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.
Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing”. Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides”.
The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs”. They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose”.
Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they’re worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.
The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish Navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.
Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No Worries” to “She’ll be Alright, Mate”. Two more escalations levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the Barbie this weekend” and “The Barbie is cancelled”. So far, no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.
English humour is obviously not politically correct? Is it accurate? That obviously depends on your cultural perspective. Is it amusing? Certainly, at least from an English point of view.