Saturday, January 5, 2013
Gallows Humor and The Anglophile
"You know, we're fans of The Addams Family in this family," I told her. "We don't own any instruments of torture, but we seem to approve of it."
I have always been a smart-ass. I don't mean to be snide and crass, it just seems to come naturally, a penchant for dark humor. I am convinced that it is genetic. There seems to be an Anglo bent toward making up satirical wit and little rhymes and jokes at otherwise serious things.
"Ring around the rosy" (the physical signs on the skin)
"A pocketful of posies" (they carried 'nose gays', bouquets to blot out the stench)
"Ashes, ashes, we all fall down" (the words at funerals and the reminder of death)
"Poor Tommy Tucker sings for his supper.
What shall we feed him?
Brown bread and butter.
How shall he eat it without 'ere knife?
How shall he bake it without 'ere wife?"
Can you imagine Mother Goose's anonymous poets in the housing bubble bust of 2008?
London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady.
Build it up with iron bars, iron bars, iron bars.
Build it up with iron bars, my fair lady."
The Gunpowder Conspiracy may have gotten a fairly serious lyric with The Fifth of November, but think of the cynicism and satire of the phrase, "A penny for the old Guy?"
I suppose we will be always joking.