Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blogging and Humour

A bit of a nasty little spat between Bob Piper and Iain Dale in relation to a post by Iain Dale which said at the end "Note to Bob Piper. This is meant to be funny. A joke. It's called humour!" Later on we got this exchange in the comments:

"Bob Piper said...
Hey, Iain... you don't like the comments, I'll take them elsewhere. As Michael Howard never quite managed to understand, and DD has a similar problem, if people don't think your jokes are funny, it might just be that they aren't funny.
4:57 PM

Iain Dale said...
Bob, I appreciate your comments just as I apreciate everyone's (sic). But you do seem to have a problem in understanding humour. This is a trait I have discovered many socialists have.
5:06 PM"

Beyond the immediate reaction of "what about the whole leftwing alternative comedy circuit then", this got me to thinking about what humour is and how it interacts with blogging. Of course, the key aspect of much humour is its closeness to embarassment, but then the thing with embarassment is how closely linked in turn to hurt and upset that is. We've seen that so clearly with the recent Danish 'Toons debate (couldn't see the humour there myself, but there we go), but it is as true about most cartoons and caricatural representations. I am sure that no matter how thick skinned and 'able-not-to-take-themselves-too-seriously' they are, doubtless most figures in the public eye who appear in cartoons and caricatures are hurt and upset by some representations of themselves. Blogging has an immediacy of impact that means, possibly, that we have to be either doubly thicked skinned (as the objects of humour) or possibly doubly careful about the hurt we can cause (as the perpetrators of humour).

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