The shockwaves of the referendum and its political revolving door aftermath are still being felt. Conversations on social media, in pubs and in offices are still dominated by feelings from outrage to incredulity. Families, work colleagues and communities are split as, as we seem like a dog with a bone unwilling, or perhaps unable, to move on.
Commentators all agree that the UK needs a strong leader to guide us out of the chaos. As the parties of all political colours squabble and bicker in a bid to take control, there’s one glimmer of hope that we’ve perhaps missed in all of this confusion. And that’s the wonderful British sense of humour.
The blackest sense of humour can be found in any newsroom. Journalists, perhaps as a sense of survival, resort to humour in the most hideous of events. It‘s a measure of how bad an incident was – the gap between something happening and the first joke. The longer the gap, the more shocking the event. It took almost a week before the first jokes started after the death of Princess Diana in 1997, reflecting the trauma. Sometimes it’s just hours. Or even minutes before the jokes appear.
Early explanations on why humans use humour were labeled as the Relief Theory – suggesting that laughter is similar to the action of a pressure-relief valve in a steam engine. As we learned more about the nervous system, this theory became less credible, and the dominant theory of humour is now the Incongruity Theory, which states humour is the perception of something absurd—something that violates our mental patterns and expectations.
Expanding on that theory, humour is used to try to turn things that are potentially threatening into something safe, to make sense of something confusing. Which is why humour is important when dealing with Brexit et al, and why we need to take a moment to laugh.
Video is a perfect medium to express those feelings of the absurd. Hitler in the Bunker became the Boris Brexit movie: (forgive the swearing)
While comedian John Oliver gave a running commentary on Brexit for our American Friends.
The Poke and the Daily Mash websites give relief amongst all the anger and bitterness – particularly in the light of all the resignations.
But sometimes the best humor is the most unsophisticated. The resilience of the people who live in the UK in the eye of this chaos is demonstrated at best with just a piece of chalk and a blackboard: