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Alexander Johannesen

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Fri, 28 May 2004 13:00:00 GMT

Notice! This blog is no longer updated as such, and the new spot to point your feedreaders and blurry eyes are https://shelter.nu/blog/

This also means no more comments here, and especially not you spammers, you filthy floatsam of the internet!

Why won't you laugh with me?

And now for something completely different...

I was revisiting my growing-up environmental influences, and stumbled upon an old pondering; why doesn't people laugh at the same jokes as me? Well, if you think that sentence is as funny as it sounds, rest asured that I don't find it funny at all!

I was - by some undocumented feature of my daily fiddlings - stumbling through some Monty Python related stuff ... old movies, remembering gags, pondering their impact on humor, life and everything. And I was taken back to the days of when I was old enough to drive (I'm finally taking a drivers license these days, only, er, like 14 years later ...) and remembered a funny fact (funny as in interesting, not as in Haha!) I've pondered about before. Visualise, from Quest for the Holy Grail, King Arthur anf gang coming to a castle, engaging in friendly chatter with the occupants of said castle who claim to have the Holy Grail;

ARTHUR : Well ... can we come up and have a look?

MAN : Of course not! You are English pigs.

ARTHUR : Well, what are you then?

MAN : I'm French. Why do think I have this outrageous accent, you silly king.

At this stage, some people already laughs a bit. But then, the moment where I hold my breath;

GALAHAD : What are you doing in England?

MAN : Mind your own business.

And I laugh out loud, and giggles like a silly schoolchild for minutes afterwards, only to discover that noone else did, neither laugh nor giggle. Why is that? I'm easy to blame cultural elitism or humor snobbery - that I'm just so much smarter than my peers - but it more probably is a symptom of my bad humor and poor taste. It always impresses me that rather similar people, of similar political opinions, similar taste in women and in cultural backdrop, such as my viewing companions of the time, can be that fundamentally different in a context reference like this. Oh, it may only be a couple of lines from an old and mostly forgotten movie, but ... but ... this is important!

It is important because relating to that gag and not getting it is almost (I know I'm reaching a rather long way here, of course, but take pity on me; my shoes are one size to big, causing endless pain and torture) like relating to a cultural issue and not getting it. In life, watching a movie with your friends, it means little. In a international political climate, it can mean war. Communication is more than getting a message from A to B; it is also realising that what you're communicating will have many many facets of your intended message, some of them completly wrong.

And all of this of course gets me thinking that context is more than what we normally mean by context; there is a lot of hidden layers of context that we cannot address, and we somehow need to address them too. the same apply to creating systems; there are aspects of it we cannot prepare for, cannot put in context, cannot guarantee works the best way for all. And, we need to make sure we prepare ourselves for all of these "cannot"s, and that is where the human aspect of creating systems will prevail and the outsourcing and manufactored mania will fail. I'm not really too worried about the future, after all, am I?

And besides, what were they doing in England? (And if you need the answer to this, I need to slap you with a trout. Seriously.)

Permalink (Fri, 28 May 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (3) | Opinions
David Buchan ( Sat, May 29 2004 )
Try a herring. Trout hurts too much.
Aine / ( Sat, May 29 2004 )
Would that be an Atlantic herring, a Blueback herring, an Alewife, a Tarpon, or a Wolf herring?
Alia ( Wed, Jun 2 2004 )
Told you before Alex - you're not funny. ;)