Thursday, April 12, 2007

The curate’s egg




Over on Thought Experiments I made the claim that ‘True Humility’ by George du Maurier (grandfather of Daphne) is the Daddy of all English self-mocking jokes.

I stand by that claim. In a simple image and a single phrase it covers everything you need to know about the absurdity of class deference, priggishness, the logical extremes of etiquette, timidity, flattery, and the business of eternally behaving as if you have a poker shoved a good distance up your behind.

Like all the very best jokes, it has more pathos than humour.

7 comments:

Duck said...

I don't get the self-mocking part.

monix said...

Duck:
The moment a Brit appears to be taking him/herself seriously the Empire will surely crumble! One 'takes the mick' out of oneself before another does! (But with great subtlety and dignity, of course)

Duck said...

I still don't get it.

Brit said...

What's not to get? It's a British cartoon taking the mickey out of British behaviour - hence it is self-mocking.

Duck said...

Oh, the mickey! ROTFLMAO!!

Brit said...

Susan Balee on Thought Experiments also admitted that she had to have it explained to her.

Must be a Lost in Translation thing. Mysterious, like that Tyra Banks thing is to me.

monix said...

Duck:
Thanks for another addition to my vocabulary list. It took me a while to figure out but then I SIMCS in a very British way.