Me and my wife have been married for 8 years now, but while she may be a bit more familiar with British English, as it’s something I expose her to every day, she has a lesser grasp on the cultural and societal differences in England, given that she’s only spent a few weeks in the UK (compared to me having lived here for 9 years).
One thing that she couldn’t quite grasp lately caught my attention. Me and my brother were having a friendly spar on Facebook where we tease each other and take the piss out of one another. Marti didn’t see it that way, thinking I was just being nasty. It’s a disconnect that I’ve noticed for a long time, especially when I consider how this bonding ritual is now all-but-absent from my life.
A very central part of British humour is making fun of yourself, making fun of others and taking it all on the chin. It’s all in jest and people don’t tend to take this sort of thing to heart.
This makes me think of Ricky Gervais’ presentation of the Golden Globes, which he was hammered for in the American press for being too offensive, while he was praised by the British media for a truly funny show.
Laughter really is the best medicine and we need to be able to be a bit more light-hearted and not get offended at every opportunity. The world would be a much happier place if we’d stop getting offended every time someone makes light of anything that’s not politically, religiously or socially neutral.