Humour and class

5 Nov
Only a bird in a gilded cage...

Only a bird in a gilded cage…


My grandfather, who along with my grandmother raised me until I was seven, started work in a North Yorkshire coal mine when he was thirteen.

He was exceptionally smart and exceptionally funny, and it was from him I learnt a profound disdain for the preenings of wealth and power, and the sense of entitlement generally apparent in the political and ruling class. He also shared with me his contempt for the bourgeoisie who tirelessly aspire to the privileges of their betters, and act as their agents in the control of lower middle and working class rabble.

For my grandfather, these contempts were instinctive and visceral, rather than acquired from education. He loathed pretension of any kind, and his mockery was ribald and witty.

So it came naturally to me when I saw these two of images of mining magnate Gina Rinehart (First Lady of the Birdcage, as some media put it) to guffaw from the gut:




Before the fall

Before the fall


I shared my mirth on Twitter and it wasn’t long before I was set upon by people telling me I wasn’t nice, and it isn’t nice to laugh at another’s misfortune.

Well, I’ve never pretended to be nice (I would rather be described as satanic than “nice,” that insipid word that damns with faint praise) and my contempt for Rinehart is such that I felt not the slightest twinge of conscience laughing at the image of her misfortune.

Had I been present, though I cannot imagine any circumstances in which I would be in the “Birdcage” (what the actual fuck is that, by the way, I loathe aviaries, what kind of twisted individual enjoys looking at imprisoned creatures with heinously stunted lives, the metaphorical implications of the term are entirely negative what is wrong with the ruling elite entirely rhetorical question don’t feel you have to answer) had I been present at Gina’s Fall, I would have called an ambulance and waited with her till it arrived because no one should be left alone in pain and shock, but as I wasn’t, as I was only looking at a photo and I knew she’d suffered no ill-effects, I laughed my fucking head off.

One anonymous man told me it was “undignified” for anyone to laugh, and I told him I couldn’t comment because I’m not the dignity police and he said I was “gaslighting” him and he totally has absolutely no fucking clue about what that term actually means.

There can be little more bourgeois than rushing to defend the ruling and political class against the humour of those they exploit. It’s the Stockholm syndrome: the defenders can’t believe in their own exploitation.

I finally lost my temper with the Twitter twats, and reminded them that Ms Rinehart would metaphorically cut all their throats in a nano second if she believed that act might bring her even a smidgen of gain. You don’t have to lower yourself to her standards, somebody replied.

I am hard put to understand this equivalence. Laughing at an image is in any way comparable to the economic and political manipulation of entire classes of people in the service of personal wealth and power? Get a grip.

The ribald mockery of the political and ruling elite is an act of subversion, as my grandfather instinctively knew though he was unlikely to use that word. It was left to his granddaughter to go to university and acquire the discourse that gave language and context to what her grandfather had taught her to know in her gut.

There is also the matter of gender, in this instance mine. Being a woman, I endure expectations of niceness generally not imposed upon those who bear their genitals on the outside of their bodies. I had an answer for that: You can stick your fucking expectations of fucking niceness up your fucking clackers, I wrote. That touched a nerve, and got a lot of retweets and favourites.

The political and ruling class are, in general, ludicrous as well as dangerous. The bourgeoisie who protect and support them in the hope of favours and privilege are no less ludicrous, and no less dangerous. One of the few ways available for the exploited and controlled to express dissatisfaction is taking the piss. There’s also violent revolution and the tumbrels, but I don’t think that time has arrived yet.



54 Responses to “Humour and class”

  1. lindacairnes2 November 5, 2016 at 8:53 am #

    Tumbrels…an Eco friendly form of transport

    Liked by 2 people

  2. silkworm November 5, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    I wish I was there when it happened. It would have been a good opportunity to steal her purse.

    Liked by 2 people

    • diannaart November 5, 2016 at 11:45 am #


      All you’d find were moths and a charge for stealing.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson November 5, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

      It was probably empty. The rich don’t carry money. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  3. diannaart November 5, 2016 at 11:49 am #

    I have tried to explain, on many occasions, when I am being gazed at disapprovingly (again), I am not a fucking LADY, I’m a human being.

    Demure looking women have expectations made of them above and beyond human endurance.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Beth French November 5, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

    I chortled heartily. The acolytes certainly swooped in. I quite agree the political and ruling class are ludicrous and dangerous, hence the problems Australia with most of the population being sucked of life.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. lindacairnes2 November 5, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    I was just looking more closely at the ‘after the fall’ foto…with her dress lining all ridden up to her gusset, those pale stockinged legs and their origin exposed …..class: expand and explain the metaphor…
    as for me; I have no pity.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. diannaart November 5, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    I can see the humour, but where’s the class?

    Maybe ‘class’ doesn’t mean the same thing any more, like ‘liberal’

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson November 5, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

      Social class. My grandad v Gina. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

      • diannaart November 5, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

        If being honest with yourself as well as with others, your grandad wins the class wars.

        Liked by 2 people

    • paul walter. November 5, 2016 at 11:47 pm #

      How can Australians be so gauche? Did we ever get past that first orgy, after the First fleet arrived?

      Liked by 3 people

    • AnnODyne November 7, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

      re your image: should be a warning before this close-up sophie mirabella mouth, and WHY does the rich/powerful woman need to CLUTCH her cellphone I wonder

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Arthur Baker November 5, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    Talking about gender, let’s imagine an equally rich, equally powerful, equally corpulent male mining magnate with exactly the same public, corporate, social and economic history as Gina Rinehart.

    Let’s imagine him dressed in his finest clothes at the Melbourne Cup, and let’s imagine him falling over in exactly the same way. How much ridicule do people think he would receive?

    (a) More than Rinehart
    (b) About the same as Rinehart
    (c) Less than Rinehart

    Liked by 2 people

    • doug quixote November 5, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

      If it was Trump? Clive Palmer? About the same.

      Don’t imagine this is sexist, AB.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Jennifer Wilson November 5, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

        Oh, I would have laughed at Turnbull if he’d fallen down the stairs. Nothing to do with gender, everything to do with pretentiousness.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Jennifer Wilson November 5, 2016 at 7:46 pm #

        AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I just saw that Tony Abbott fell off a fire truck today & I’m cacking myself.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Anonymous November 6, 2016 at 10:39 am #

          Jennifer….he really didn’t fall… rumor has it that the mad monk was looking for his suppository of wisdom to guide him to the “root” of the fire!

          Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson November 5, 2016 at 7:50 pm #

        Here, look at this:

        Liked by 3 people

        • diannaart November 5, 2016 at 7:55 pm #

          You’re correct Jennifer, schadenfreude is non-discriminatory.

          Liked by 2 people

        • paul walter. November 5, 2016 at 11:41 pm #

          Needs to give it up.

          Leave it for the younger fitter bucks, go home to Margie and enjoy the sunset with her, god knows she has earned a little attention after these so many years?

          No more Jet Jackson stuff.

          No more Snoopy on the kennel with the goggles on and scarf, dueling desperately with the Red Baron.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Jennifer Wilson November 6, 2016 at 6:56 am #

            Maybe Margie doesn’t want him around all the time, not that I care…

            Liked by 3 people

          • Moz of Yarramulla November 11, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

            Yep, I can easily imagine her saying “isn’t there a fire somewhere that you could be attending, dear? Or a press conference?”. I suspect the “or the opening of an envelope?” part is silent.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Arthur Baker November 11, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

              As one who has the good fortune to live on the lower northern beaches of Sydney and therefore the extraordinary bad fortune to be represented in our national parliament by The Imbecile Abbott, I can report that the local scuttlebutt (for a long time now) is that he and Margie are no longer together.

              I cannot vouch for the truth of this rumour. I am simply the messenger here.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Jennifer Wilson November 11, 2016 at 10:09 pm #

                Well, she’s gone up in my estimation if she’s left the bastard.


        • AnnODyne November 7, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

          “don’t let the door hit the back of you on the way down”


    • Jennifer Wilson November 5, 2016 at 7:42 pm #

      For mine, same as Rinehart, Arthur. Not a gender specific thing for me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • paul walter. November 5, 2016 at 11:32 pm #

      John Kerr, the governor general who dismissed Whitlam turned up shickered at a Melbourne Cup and got roundly jeered by the crowd.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Jennifer Wilson November 6, 2016 at 6:58 am #

        Oh, yes, I forgot about that. I think that kind of mass ribaldry is almost lost to us, everyone has become so precious about treating their betters with civility & respect. As if civility & respect will make one ounce of difference to their desire for profit & exploitation of all kinds.

        Liked by 1 person

        • samjandwich November 7, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

          Maybe, but we only like the “betters” who can mix it with the regulars. The others we leave off our Christmas card lists.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. doug quixote November 5, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

    Poor Gina!

    Schadenfreude rides again.


    Liked by 2 people

  9. paul walter. November 5, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

    Regarding the older generation, my grandparents saw out two world wars, the Great Depression and post war Austerity. Far worse in England, of course.

    But that’s all in the past now, we learned from history and no way it could happen again…could it?


    Melbourne Cup Day and Australia Day have become a true bonfire for the vulgarities.

    On New Year’s eve or Oz day, in the heat, an outburst of drunken testosterone-fueled male braggadocio and rage.

    Women are in focus on Cup Day and the results can be fearfully pitiful, as the young madams, noses in the air, drunkenly lurch about on their stilts till the heels snap, or wipe their mouths clean with their Fascinators after chucking up white wine and seafood over their flimsy gowns.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. townsvilleblog November 5, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

    Unfortunately having voted for the first time in 1972 and having politics all my life since that time, I have run out of humor and class at the antics of the current conservative government. In my humble opinion they are very quickly turning us into another version of the US of A. With their unregulated capitalism pushing everyday Australians into poverty and early deaths.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson November 5, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

      Shaun, I agree, we’re going very fast down a right wing road, and Turnbull has no control of his more feral party members.

      Bernardi is in NY, ostensibly at the UN, but tweeting against Clinton & for Trump. On our dime.

      Liked by 2 people

      • paul walter. November 5, 2016 at 11:43 pm #

        Turnbull is an ice-cold bastard like Ralph Nickleby from Dickens. No heart, no compassion, no clue, no capacity for one.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Marilyn November 6, 2016 at 5:25 am #

          He reminds me of my ice cold arsehole of a father with his airs and fucking graces, his abuse and his neglect.

          I thing the only thing they didn’t have in common is my father was a fucking pedophile

          Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson November 6, 2016 at 6:55 am #

          Oh, that’s harsh, PW, he loved his dog…

          Liked by 1 person

          • paul walter. November 6, 2016 at 11:48 am #

            Marilyn pretty much nails him.

            Liked by 1 person

          • paul walter. November 6, 2016 at 11:51 am #

            I am not interested in his sexual preferences.

            Liked by 1 person

            • paul walter. November 6, 2016 at 11:52 am #



      • townsvilleblog November 7, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

        Jennifer, my two bob’s worth is that we Australian “people” are being sold out as fast as Turnbull, Abbott and Co can privatize our govt services and sell them to the global 1% who own 50%+ of the world economy. These people have a mental illness called insatiable greed, when enough is never enough, they always need more. So their mates the conservatives provide them with more, as they privatize PAYE taxpayer services, so that we can no longer afford them.


  11. paul walter. November 6, 2016 at 12:49 am #

    Since we are do crass, lets see if this takes..

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannaart November 6, 2016 at 7:29 am #

      Lost in translation?


  12. Marilyn November 6, 2016 at 5:24 am #

    The very few people who ever called me a lady were soon disabused of that demented notion.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Linda November 6, 2016 at 10:41 am #

    Jennifer… he really didn’t fall, rumour has it that he was looking for his suppository of all wisdom to guide him to the root of the fire!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. kittycordo November 7, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    Haha how could an intelligent person not laugh – how the mighty had fallen!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. samjandwich November 7, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

    Jennifer your Christmas present’s on it’s way. It has a comfortable handle and a blade that curves inwards to aid ambushes from behind. Make sure you warn your postie not to squeeze it too hard!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. diannaart November 11, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

    On the topic of class:

    Vale Leonard Cohen

    one of my favourite songs:

    With me for 45 years and now he’s gone.


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