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Australian Humor And The Australian Identity

1914 words - 8 pages

Australian humour is very unique to Australia, and many other cultures find it quite unusual. It can be described as dry, anti-authoritarian, self-mocking, very ironic and as to stretch the boundaries of what is acceptable. Our humour is seen through our use of slang, print cartoons, radio sketches, comedy series’ on television, films, everyday life and in Australian literature. According to the Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus , humour means, “The quality of being funny; the ability to appreciate or express that which is humorous; situations, speech or writings that are humorous”. Due to its unique qualities, it will become apparent that Australian humour is quiet different to that of America and England and other nations. To highlight the importance of humour through the development of Australian identity, five main elements have been identified. These are, the part Australian humour plays in Australian identity, its unique qualities, its integral part in the Australian identity, the role of humour in times of great hardship and other nation’s perceptions of Australian humour. It is through these elements that it will become evident that humour is an important part of the development of the Australian identity.

Australian humour is very unique to Australia. This individual sense of humour is not often found in other Westernised cultures and people from those places may have difficulty understanding it. In some places, the characteristics of Australian humour may not even be considered acceptable behaviour and it would be breaking the law to do so. For example, in Australia, people are free to make jokes about the government, but in other countries this may not be accepted. Some unique and important characteristics of Australian humour include self-mocking, ironic, dry, anti-authoritarian, being able to stretch the boundary of what is acceptable and to not be politically correct. It is often seen as ironic, as Australians find it quite humorous to dub a tall man ‘Shorty’, and vice versa, similarly a bald man ‘Curly’ and sombre one ‘Rowdy’. This can be seen amongst most groups of Australian males. Being able to laugh at oneself, usually shows self-confidence, and so if Australia as a whole is able to laugh at itself, it makes us a very confident nation, with confidence being an admirable trait. Without these characteristics, Australian humour would be no different to American or English humour. Humour in England is described as quite cruel, full of puns and all about understatements, whereas in America it’s all about sexual and social humour. Each country’s humour is unique but Australian humour is seen as more extreme and most difficult to understand, most probably from the ironic nature of the humour. Due to the fact that our humour is unique to Australia, it is possible to see how important it is in the identity.

Humour plays a very important part in Australian identity. Without humour, we would be a very dull society and it would...

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