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jmasters

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""" I do not hold a person accountable for being ill. but I do hold them responsible for their behavior, there is simply no other way """

Thanks, I did not reproduce your bold type here. But three points.

a.) I am not "ill" but sometimes volatile. (And as I said, I mistakenly took this for a debating society.) I may still seem argumentative, but actually I just want to clean up some loose ends.

b.) About your bold-print statement. I will take that as a compliment, because I do not expect that one should require a psychotic to be "responsidble etc." I am not a psychotic so far as I know.

c.) Now that I have exposed my throat, and done so purposely, I see that there ARE some who want to leep in for the kill. Think about that one. Compare it with my own past sins. (Please)

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I was going to start a new thread with this but decided against it. I have been reading some of the threads that started this whole ruckus and noticed something which I think needs to be repeated:

Among all the argument here lately have been a number of references to supposed cultural differences leading to problems of interpretation. The term “dry wit” keeps recurring.

I’d like to remind everyone that in text there is little or no room for “dry wit”, or any sort of presumptive humor which depends for its success on a context outside of the thread itself. The “culture clash” here is not between Australians and Americans (or whatever) but between off-net and on-net communication styles.

Emoticons are your friend. If it is even remotely possible to read what you have written “in a serious tone of voice”, someone, probably most people, will do so. This is a basic tenet of ‘netiquette’, but it’s worth revisiting–it can take a while to sink in for some of us, and there will always be people who are ‘new’ to the issue.

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In the past, I have made even local friends angry with e-mails which were misinterpreted or taken too seriously. This was with people who knew me fairly well. One person and I valued our friendship enough to talk this through. He told me, and I realized he was correct, that body language and quick interchange help a lot with misunerstanding.

When emoticons with just the keystrokes first started being used, I did not see them as useful. I could never tell if :-) meant "I like you" or "gotcha." And I saw them actually used both ways. At least the context suggested that they were sometimes used in a negative manner.

(Of course, I may have misinterpreted once again.) But I likely will avoid them still. I will try to keep statements as objective as possible. That means avoiding idioms and slang also. Hopefully, I can speak with people with a minimum of friction.

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""" Actually JM, my last comments were not so much intended for you as some other folk here. Do you engage in humor in your posts? """

Probably not generally, because I was mainly trying to drum up interest in a couple of topics that seemed worth while. Light-hearted humor does not really mean much to me when I do not know a person and cannot picture him in any kind of context. But yes, I have used sarcasm a bit and the others have rightly pointed this out.

However, I certainly appreciate a gentile* conversation in things not related to "serious" stuff. I would say my emotional reactions are more of warmth than humor, when in a good mood. But thanks for asking. If you followed the thread above, I hope you will see that I pretty much feel the way I have just described....... johnmasters

* I certainlly see humor here, I am too lazy to look up the spelling of "Jen-teal"

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I would expect, and observe the vast majority of americans here to be of the other kind. The american (popular) condition we observe has more to do with the insular nature of american media - for which a certain Australian plays a large part, but he's a very naughty boy... kind of like a one way mirror. Foreign actors win oscars for playing Americans, because American culture is saturated throughout our media, but the opposite is rarely true.

Anyway, the pinnacle of the art from what I've seen is a Jewish man with an Italian instrument, using a French Bow, made from Brazilian wood, with Chinese hair, playing Russian music, in front of an American orchestra, recorded with German microphones onto a Japanese tape machine, edited on an Australian computer, mixed with an English console... pressed onto a disc made from Iraqi crude, and played on a machine manufactured in Taiwan.

The violin is cultural glue of sorts

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For all the Aussies of good humor and dry wit ......

Saving a Bear

A priest, a Pentecostal preacher and a rabbi all served as chaplains to the students of Northern Michigan University in Marquette. They would get together two or three times a week for coffee and to talk shop.

One day, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn't really that hard. A real challenge would be to preach to a bear. One thing led to another, and they decided to do a seven-day experiment. They would all go out into the woods, find a bear and preach to it.

Seven days later, they're all together to discuss the experience. Father O'Flannery, who has his arm in a sling, is on crutches, and has various bandages, goes first.

"Wellll," he says, in a fine Irish brouge, "Ey wint oot into th' wooods to fynd me a bearr. Oond when Ey fund him Ey began to rread to him from the Baltimorre Catechism. Welll, thet bearr wanted naught to do wi' me und begun to slap me aboot. So I quick grrabbed me holy water and, THE SAINTS BE PRAISED, he became as gentle as a lamb. The bishop is cooming oot next wik to give him fierst communion und confierrmation."

Reverend Billy Bob spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, with an arm and both legs in casts, and an IV drip. In his best fire and brimstone oratory he proclaimed, "WELL, brothers, you KNOW that we don't sprinkle...WE DUNK! I went out and I FOUND me a bear. And then I began to read to him from God's HOOOOLY WORD! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. I SAY NO! He wanted NOTHING to do with me. So I took HOOOLD of him and we began to rassle. We rassled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we come to a crick. So I quick DUNK him and BAPTIZE his hairy soul. An' jus like you sez, he wuz gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the week in fellowship, feasting on God's HOOOOLY word."

They both look down at the rabbi, who was lying in a hospital bed. He was in a body cast and traction with IV's and monitors running in and out of him.

The rabbi looks up and says, "Oy! You don't know what tough is until you try to circumcise one of those creatures."

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Best laugh I've had all day

Here's a quick one:

Billy Graham, the world famous preacher was visiting England and one morning went for a walk along the Dover Cliffs when he came accross two men pulling on a rope on the cliff edge.

On looking down he observed a Pakistani in the water holding onto the other end, he thanked the men for their kind act in helping to save a fellow man, blessed them and walked on.

One man said to the other, "who was that", the other man replied, "that's Billy Graham, he's a famous Evangelist, knows everthing there is about religion".

His friend replied, "he might know everything there is about religion, he knows b*gger all about shark fishing".

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I think this is an example of what we're driving at.

Vanity Fair, February 2003, Excerpt:

[page. 116, Ask Dame Edna]

Dear Dame Edna:

I would very much like to learn a foreign language, preferably French or Italian, but every time I mention this, people tell me to learn Spanish instead. They say, “Everyone is going to be speaking Spanish in 10 years. George W. Bush speaks Spanish “Could this be true? Are we all going to have to speak Spanish? [Torn Romantic, Palm Beach]

Dear Torn:

Forget Spanish. There’s nothing in that language worth reading except Don Quixote, and a quick listen to the CD of Man of La Mancha will take care of that. There was a poet named Garcia Lorca, but I’d leave him on the intellectual back burner if I were you. As for everyone’s speaking it, what twaddle! Who speaks it that you are really desperate to talk to? The help? Your leaf blower? Study French or German, where there are at least a few books worth reading, or, if you’re American, try English. [Dame Edna, Vanity Fair magazine]

... and the result.

The LA times was not so kind...

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Yup, I got that one. And a good one. I will tell you that the shrink that gives me my meds is Pakistani. (This is a true story) I have over the years asked him various things and it is quite shocking some things that I have heard. I like the guy, but one never can get used to how DIFFERENT some people feel about things. In this case the role of religion in the control of government and people's lives. (Scarey, really) But I see him only for pharmachological reasons. There is no real psychoanlysis at all....... first of all he is 18 years younger than me, and I don't trust his life's experience. Well so much for that. You know? We could get into big trouble if we made this a joke forum, but that certainly was a laugh for me too.

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ill. 3rd defintion; Resulting in suffering; harmful or distressing: the ill effects of a misconceived policy

disease; dis-ease;not at ease

these apply to you.

Many people in pain refuse to recognize that simple fact. emotional pain is the culprit. I have been there and done that . Many times. I was rescued by accepting, surrendering, and doing what I was told... By people who knew the way out. which believe me does not come easy. I have seen many folks on the doorstep of recovery, and turn back. In fact it is the rule rather than the exception.

John, you are ill,and have a disease. But it is not serious, unless you curl up with it , hide it and protect it.

The vital ingredient in recovery is to face your worst fears, masked by denial,and admit you are helpless. Surrender brings relief. I say this with conviction, having seen your behavior in other forums

Love,

bud

many people know the way,but few follow it.

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I’d like to remind everyone that in text there is little or no room for “dry wit”, or any sort of presumptive humor which depends for its success on a context outside of the thread itself. The “culture clash” here is not between Australians and Americans (or whatever) but between off-net and on-net communication styles.

Andres- Some, or most of the great humor of all time is in written form, yet you say there is little or no room for it in text! Rubbish! Humor is a very effective tool, even when used in serious discussions such as on this forum. Almost everyone who posts regularly here, including John Masters, uses some humor in their posts. I think it's use particularly applies to this thread, as it can be used to "take the edge" off a comment that might otherwise be interpreted as offensive. I certainly use humor, always have & always will. Granted, some may not "get it", but I think some of the recent examples illustrate the effectiveness of humor in text. Who wrote this rule of "netiquette" anyway?

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"" yet you say there is little or no room for it in text! Rubbish! Humor is a very effective tool, even when used in serious discussions such as on this forum. Almost everyone who posts regularly here, including John Masters, uses some humor in their.....""

Of course there is room for it as long as the references and allusions are clear. I introduced a joke to Alex which would be universally be understood. He told me back a similar one. I chose to tell of a truly ironic situation that I was actually in with respect to a Pakistani physicican of mine.

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FiddleFaddle

"" John, you are ill,and have a disease. But it is not serious, unless you curl up with it , hide it and protect it.

The vital ingredient in recovery is to face your worst fears, masked by denial,and admit you are helpless. Surrender brings relief. I say this with conviction, having seen your behavior in other forums. "

I omitted your closing because I took it as disingenuous. Yes, I have heard all of these things. They are all the standard cliches one hears. But you know that you cannot diagnose from what little you have heard. I admit to having mood swings. In fact I see them as rather large at times. I also have mentioned that what I don't need is patronizing. It is now YOU who are out of line. I was told by a physicican friend (dead now of cancer for about 30 years) both the origins of the words "disease" and "malaria." He was a nice guy and I remember the conversation to this day. It was in the same conversation.

In addition to being out of line, I feel your advice and conclusions are much more melodramatic than is appropriate given the particulars.

It is easy for me to say these things but also not easy to be heard. Anything I say against what you say "proves" your thesis. So I will not make an argument. You are simply out of line and do not know my situation in spite of your "observations." You also do not know the state of my self-awareness. But I can relate some history.

What you need to know is that I started with this fellow's brother. He left town and gave his business to his brother, who had always struck me as brash, untactful, lazy, uninformed and a few other bad things. He had occasionally substituted for the better brother, so I had known him for a while. I complained to the first brother a couple of years ago when he came back temporarily to take over the business while his brother was indisposed. I made my complaints, and the brother vounteered, " He often does that, and is not careful to do his homework." You will say he was humoring me. I say he was not. All was consistant across the board. The better man said, "well, do what you think is best." I decided to stay with the second one because he IS cooperative in experiments and admits as he should that all of the interaction of neurotransmitters and these few drugs is strictly empirical and not at all well understood. (I mean seratonin reuptake inhibitors.)

I will assume that your reference to denial has to do with the negative attitudes I have for my physicican as described previously. This is not the case. I did the right thing. I did not want to take the time and money to break in another one. I get the drugs I need to do trials, I make my reports, and we mutually decide what to do. It is a good working relationship, but it does not mean I have to like him as well as his brother.

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"" I think this is an example of what we're driving at.

Vanity Fair, February 2003, Ex"" I think this is an example of what we're driving at.

Vanity Fair, February 2003, Excerpt:

[page. 116, Ask Dame Edna]

Dear Dame Edna: ........................... "

I truly do not know what this is about. Are you trying to say something about racism and certain vile attitudes which give rise to it? And indeed do you think this is typical of me?? If so, please be less obscure, and say what you think this piece actually is saying. Also a comment if you wish as to why you print it here.

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Sheesh.. (slapping hands on forehead) ... read the thing, read the articles, carefully. This is my point exactly. The jokes you and Alex told are universal comic devices... you both got it. This one you didn't... why?

This was not about your racist attitudes at all (no John it's not about you). It was all about the subtlety and obscurity... what that piece of writing used was a comedic device (satire), which as you have demonstrated is completely foreign to a good deal of Americans.

For two reasons ... First - you don't get a lot of (hardly any in fact) international television. The US is like a cultural black hole... when you're there, you get the feeling the world is flat, and ends at Alaska. Ask a Canadian. We can see you, but you can't see us all that well.

Second - we have a government broadcaster (much like the BBC) who we affectionaly refer to as 'Aunty' (the ABC). For the most part, they provide balance... no commercials, no obligation to sell, but an obligation to entertain, inform and critique. People can say almost anything they like on the ABC without too much fear of the repercussions.

Perhaps these lyrics may provide enlightenment on the subject. Written by an American by the way.. and this has nothing to do with Australian cultural supremacy ... our culture is going in the same direction for exactly the same reasons, we're just a little better insulated. If the BBC ever get's privatised, we're screwed.

Dame Edna is a ficticious character... ironically she's an official Dame though. The PM was so impressed by her he dubbed her 'Dame Edna' at a function... the only such honour to be given in Australia by someone other than the Queen. We have other ficticious characters who have been given awards etc.

The point is that to an Australian... this is a reasonably clever dig at a class structure visible in every corner of the United States. Not the fault of an individual, but the fault of a society. Not a dig at you, US Citizen, but at the US in general.... with a twist of affection. The author's error here was that he seriously misjudged the readers of vanity fair, thinking they would immediately comprehend the device... the very thing I am apologising for and disclaiming. Regardless of whether I did it or not...

His position is a comment on racist attitudes in general... the piece (translated into American english) reads :

Dear Dame Edna,

Should I learn to speak spanish?

Dear Writer,

Of COURSE you should learn to speak spanish.. have you not noticed that a large number people in your community speak spanish? Unfortunately some of them don't speak english very well, which some elitist european types (as depicted by the alter ego I assumed in order to demonstrate this view in first person) have taken to mean that they're inferior, and so they're given the worst jobs to do. If you learn to speak spanish, you'd find out what a wonderful and intelligent people they are, and that they have a history and literature as rich as your own.

Is this making ANY sense?

Try (as an exercise) assuming that people are good. That people mean no offence, they are not out to get you, and that they all have a sense of humor and a level of common universal decency... regardless of what they're comments may look like. Then with that basic frame of mind, read a passage and then read between the lines, over them, under them and upside down if it helps... if it has an offensive or whacko undercurrent, ask yourself "why would a rational person use this kind of language, or that kind of idea... what's the illustration here?".

If... after careful examination you come to the conclusion that it really was aimed negatively toward you personally, then by all means take offence. I certainly did.

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I wonder what the average American would make of John Clark being interviewed, now there's a master of dry wit, or Barry Humphries playing his Les Patterson character, good heavens, what if they take him seriously too and think he's an example of the average Australian middle aged male

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Sigh....Sometimes I wonder if jmasters is serious or just pulling our leg....

Llama, as an American I take offense at your generalization that Americans are "culturally backwards" or don't understand the concept of satire. There are plenty of folks in the U.S. who have seen "Dame Edna" on television, and fully comprehend (her/his) brand of humor.

The articles you cite previously (LA times commentary on Vanity Fair) are simply examples of folks in U.S. who aren't "with it." This analogy might not be quite apt, but this "misunderstanding" is akin to generational differences between "with it" teenagers and their parents.

While I admit there are plenty of folks who don't "get it" in the U.S., I can assure you that there are plenty others who do.You just have to have some pity for the folks who don't know any better, that's all.

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Well, why not cut me a litle slack. I live in the USA. I agree that our media is run by billionaires. I can read THE ECONOMIST if I wish, however but I do not often do it. I listen to BBC news at night.

I am glad you have a good radio network. We have one call NPR, and it is privately funded from donations. I like it. My city also has one of the best classical music stations in the country (USA) and was set up by one Fred Kallen. Mr. Kallen then went on to become an important force in promoting and developing NPR (National Public Radio.)

I won't go to the link as my sound system is involved with the experiments I have mentioned.

I said at the beginning I did not have the foggiest notion of what this was about. OK, it flew over my head because I am not an Australian. I made a stab at the racism thing because it seemed to be disparaging of some cultures and not others. That is all. If was about subtlety and obscurity, than it certainly was well done. You mention "Canada". Where is that? Is that the thing between the lower states and Alaska? It seem so from the context of your speech.

If you like your humor, why not find a way to spread it around and help us out in this cultural black hole. Do I strike you as a person completely unbored with my life? I realize where I live, and I am afraid I know where it is headed, And culture does not have a great deal to do with it. In fact, history shows that cultural peaks usually happen after political and social declines. This is not something to look forward to because the great bulk of the population suffers tremendously.

"" Of COURSE you should learn to speak spanish.. have you not noticed that a large number people in your community speak spanish? Unfortunately some of them don't speak english very well, which some elitist european types (as depicted by the alter ego I assumed in order to demonstrate this view in first person) have taken to mean that they're inferior, and so they're given the worst jobs to do. If you learn to speak spanish, you'd find out what a wonderful and intelligent people they are, and that they have a history and literature as rich as your own.

Is this making ANY sense?

Try (as an exercise) assuming that people are good. That people mean no offence, they are not out to get you, and that they all have a sense of humor and a level of common universal decency... regardless of what they're comments may look like. Then with that basic frame of mind, read a passage and then read between the lines, over them, under them and upside down if it helps... if it has an offensive or whacko undercurrent, ask yourself "why would a rational person use this kind of language, or that kind of idea... what's the illustration here?".

Sure it makes sense, see that all people are equal, that you are not the center of the universe and do not need to expect other people are to out to get you because they think you are. Is this an indictment of me? (Can't be, I am not at the center of the universe. Also since all people are benevolent, you are not out to get me either.)

Maybe I still totally miss the drift of this piece. It isn't very humerous, and if it is meant to be philosophy, why not select another piece?

Certainly you may be clever, but no need to put the burden on me to traslate internal idioms and guess at what you think is great thinking. Of course, I don't expect you to understand everything I say either.

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Mostly I am serious. I feel obligated to answer all of the comment of this thread which I opened. NOW, I find that this Dame Edna person is on American TV. I never watch early TV, my schedual is different than that. I suppose if I followed it, it would make sense to me. Do you realize that I NEVER saw single episode of "Dallas" or many other sit-coms. I was always in my shop or watched very late night TV.

About the leg-pulling, if I have a chance I certainly will, I need something to break the monotony, and I enjoy humor also. It need not be at the expense of my audience.

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It's marvelous how the topic of a thread can change during its duration. I remember my Mother relating to me, as a small boy, a story that was related to her, as a small girl during WW1.

The following message was sent back to headquarters, down the lines, by word of mouth:

"Send reinforcements, we are going to advance"

But by the time it reached Headquarters it had become:

"Send three and fourpence, we are going to a dance"

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