In the News

Sometimes I read the news and I get angry.  This evening I read the news and thought that I had to share. From the ABC news:

The author of a musical comedy about the 2006 Beaconsfield mine disaster has made changes to the production following public outrage about the title.

Playwright Dan Ilic earlier said he hoped the production’s original title, Beaconsfield: A Musical in A-Flat Minor, would gain media attention but has since re-named the musical Beaconsfield: The Musical.

I am constantly amazed by humour.  People will make jokes about anything, and it can be something that unites us.  But when good jokes go bad it can also be something that divides us. For example, I really enjoyed this post, but if you read the comments thread you can soon see that not everyone got the joke.  And the joke in the news story, it can be seen as sick and inappropriate and the author sensibly bowed to public pressure and changed the name. Yet it makes me wonder how much of our humour is a coping mechanism in the face of bleakness.  Any thoughts?

4 comments on “In the News

  1. LuLi says:

    Pretty shitty joke and too soon. Its like making fun of orphans and tsunami victims, just tasteless.

  2. rayedish says:

    It is tasteless and its one thing for people to tell jokes privately to each other, but to have that as the title of a musical is pretty poor.

  3. Fi says:

    It may say more about my perspective than the issue we’re discussing, but I wouldn’t have come to an interpretation of the title as a poor-taste pun without all the media noise about it. When a joke is made that creates humour by linking two events it can poke fun at one or another. I read it as a pun on the musical side of the joke, rather than anything to do with the miner who died at Beaconsfield. However, therein lies the danger of humour: not all interpretations are funny and people do bring different perspectives to a joke. So what’s funny and innocent to its creator can evoke something quite unsavoury to one who hears it.

    I did struggle, however, with the response of the survivors of Beaconsfield, criticising the writer for misappropriating another person’s death. These are the men who were flown to America to go on daytime TV and talk about their part in the ordeal in which their friend died.

    And I can’t help but think that a lot of the frenzy and uproar is a result of the musical being a criticism of the very institution that is reporting the story.

  4. rayedish says:

    Hey Fi, the pun of the title made me both smile and groan/shake my head at the same time. I think that the joke works/or doesn’t (perhaps ‘operates’ is the word I want) at two different levels. I do take your point about the media creating the frenzy/uproar that they then criticise and this is certainly not the first time this has happened. (Bill Henson scandal anyone?)

    I hadn’t thought about the behaviour of the survivors in this context. As a society we seem to judge people’s reactions to tragedy quite harshly and joking seems to be deemed (less publically) acceptable then making money from your experiences.

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