Posts Tagged ‘not funny’


November 20, 2014

They say there are no atheists on a plane that’s going down.

And for all I know this may be true. I’ve only been scared on a plane once. We were coming in to land at John Lennon Airport from the west, over the Wirral and the Mersey and it wasn’t the most stable of approaches,  high crosswind and lashing rain complicating things. The plane was wobbling and veering, sliding sideways and a lot of people were indeed praying. I stayed calm, fuelled by the confidence of my little knowledge (of the proverbially dangerous sort) of aviation, then I caught a glimpse of the waves about twenty feet below us and suddenly thought “oh shit” and the next moment we landed perfectly fine.

It made me think though, how prepared am I for an emergency? We, seasoned travellers (note how much more glamorous this sounds than “immigrants commuting between their two homes”) all sit through them with a studied face of boredom but apparently those safety demos are important because in the panic of a real emergency people’s brains turn to jelly. They can’t think at all, they flail around mindlessly and they can’t even remember how to unbuckle their seat belts unless it’s drilled into them.

Now I’m not saying atheism is right, just that it’s not a very good argument for religion to say that this is the point where people suddenly turn to God.

I am terrified of Chinese people

September 21, 2009

It all started when someone discovered that if you typed “i am terrified” into Google and waited for the list of suggestions to appear, the first one on that list was going to be “i am terrified of chinese people”. There are loads of pages about the phenomenon, tackling it along the lines of “have a laugh mate and that’s that”.

Nobody seems to ask the obvious quesiton though: why is this such a popular search? If you actually run it, you get several copies of a solitary racist article written by extremely thick people in the finest traditions of racist pamphlets, including the mandatory anacrusis: “I am not racist, but”. Apart from that, there are…no prizes for guessing…yes, hundreds of websites pointing out how funny it is that this is Google’s first suggestion, thus perpetuating the joke. Nice. Hundreds plus one now. Oh, well.

But enough about Chinese people, reading search phrase suggestions offers much better entertainment than that, provided that you have a sufficiently sad life and your expectations are low enough. It’s a web 2.0 Klondike to people desperate for a laugh, starting off almost any question can lead to the discovery of something amusing! Or at the very least, the fact that there’s a barrage of questions on pregnancy, most of them alarmingly stupid. (On a sidenote: it would be interesting to see a proper study about these questions, which, I believe, represent the fears and beliefs of teenagers more precisely than any anonymous survey ever did.)

Out of all the silly and absurd phrases encountered “When do I harvest potatoes?” is the one that caught my imagination the most, however.

You planted your potatoes several months ago, right? You’ve been waiting and waiting. You’re growing a bit impatient, sitting in your muddy boots at the computer when suddenly it strikes you that you haven’t got the faintest idea as to when to harvest them.

Okay, I admit, it’s not that funny after all.

Get Up, Stand Up

August 5, 2009

“At the Guild of Fools and Joculators we discourage laughter. Joking is not a laughing matter. ”
Discworld Fools’ Guild Yearbook And Diary 2001

This is a good one.

Apparently you can actually earn a degree in Standup Comedy at the Southampton Solent University. (Formerly known as the Fox and Goose Pub, I guess.)

Brilliant tabloid fodder, surely “this is beyond a joke” and other, similarly hilarious phrases will be sprinkled liberally over coverages.

But there’s more to it than tomfoolery. What happens, for example, if you pass all your exams with flying colours, yet for some weird and inexplicable reason, completely fail to be funny? Do you still get the degree? If you don’t, that’s not really fair, is it? After all, you learned what you had been told to learn, it’s not your fault. But if you do, then your degree, like all degrees should mean that you can be a practitioner of that particular trade. Except that you can’t because you’re missing one (in fact the only) vital ingredient. What can you do with your degree then? Go into advertising or write for Jimmy Carr?

Maybe the whole subject is more serious than it sounds?

Or maybe they should just abandon the whole idea altogether and start a course on pub quizzes. A much simpler and teachable discipline: picture round, music round, general knowledge, snacks every half term, here’s your diploma and if you’re lucky on the raffle, you get your tuition fee back.