Posted by: anglopole | November 10, 2008

Impossible is nothing – the British cynicism can be tamed!

Some time ago I wrote about Russell Brand, a popular British comedian – well, popular here in the UK as he didn’t seem to conquer the American hearts, of which I mentioned before. Little did I know when writing about him in September that he would soon be in the spotlight of yet another scandal, but this time in his own homeland.

To weeks ago Mr Brand together with his colleague, Jonathan Ross (another tv celebrity here) starred in, what is now known as, ‘Sachsgate’. The two comedians made a series of prank calls on air, while running a radio show, to an elderly actor – wow, how hilarious, isn’t it? Some people seem to fail to understand that what is acceptable and funny among kids or teenagers is not necessarily so in the grown-up world. To be honest, I didn’t think the incident would cause such a serious scandal. The ‘super funny’ joke was condemned by media, politicians and other celebrities and I’ve been gobsmacked observing the consequences the two jokers have had to face as it’s always been made clear to me here that nothing should ever be censored. The ‘Sachsgate’ seems to have made people to pause and think of what is more important: entertainment and fun or respect and decency. To both Russell and Ross it has proved to be a costly mistake and no laughing matter at the end of the day. If you ask me, I’m glad this has turned out this way. The say, children need boundaries to feel safe and, in my view, grown-ups too could do with some, especially when it comes to treating others with respect.

If I could say something to the likes of Brand it would be:

Have fun, by all means, but not at the expense of someone else’s dignity, reputation or feelings (unless the only way you can cope with your own insecurities is by ridiculing others, but that only speaks of your lack of integrity of character) and, perhaps, we’ll regain the old perception of the British as a nation of gentlemen!


  1. Hi Anglopole
    I was just wondering what you mean by British cynicism. Wouldn’t you agree that it’s better to say something stupid as a joke than to do something silly and make it a law, such as when the Polish government wanted to ban all mentions of homosexuality in schools? Which is the more cynical?


  2. Well, according to an English dictionary, ‘cynicism’ is: a disposition to disbelieve in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions” and a tendency “to express this by sneers and sarcasms”. Such disbelief is, of course, subjective and so the sneers and sarcasms based on it are most likely going to be unfair and hurtful to those on the receiving end, IMHO (that’s, of course, if someone chooses to be bothered by such stupid pranks, jokes, etc.).
    To answer your question, I’d say neither is good – stupid, thoughtless jokes and discrimination against homosexuals. 🙂

    Btw. I believe there is something that we can call a healthy sense of humour = joking, having fun, without necessarily using individuals as targets of the jokes… Yeah, yeah…. I know… many Britons would consider me a killjoy – well, I think, I can live with that! 😀


  3. I agree with you actually, but I was perhaps under the mistaken impression that us Brits were always very good at self-depreciation, whereas other nations preferred a ‘schadenfreude’ type humour.


  4. Here in Peru we have two guys who practice this kind of “humor” on their radio show: they make phone calls pretending to be, let’s say, an authority, and start to tease the innocent who happens to be at the other end of the line.
    I dislike this kind of jokes. I guess that’s because I think there is always a limit to everything and that respect for others (and for ourselves) should be at the top of the list.


  5. Thanks for your comments Adam and Gabriela. Sorry for being quiet for some time, but I was away, enjoying a week’s holiday in Spain!

    @Adam – self-depreciation is probably the safest kind of humour as it’s targeted at the author of the jokes, so it can hardly offend anyone else.

    @Gabriela – my point exactly; respect should be the foundation for humour, otherwise, the humour will be a form of bullying and hardly entertaining for those who are being ridiculed.


  6. How did you like Spain?


  7. I like Spain a lot! 🙂 I fell in love with Barcelona! It’s the most beautiful city I’ve visited so far by a mile! 😀 Oh, and hearing Spanish spoken everywhere…. the language is soooo sexy!!! 😉


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