Australian Humor and the Australian Identity Essay

Australian Humor and the Australian Identity Essay

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Australian humour is very unique to Australia, and many other cultures find it quite unusual. It can be described as dry, anti-authoritarian, self-mocking, very ironic and as to stretch the boundaries of what is acceptable. Our humour is seen through our use of slang, print cartoons, radio sketches, comedy series’ on television, films, everyday life and in Australian literature. According to the Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus , humour means, “The quality of being funny; the ability to appreciate or express that which is humorous; situations, speech or writings that are humorous”. Due to its unique qualities, it will become apparent that Australian humour is quiet different to that of America and England and other nations. To highlight the importance of humour through the development of Australian identity, five main elements have been identified. These are, the part Australian humour plays in Australian identity, its unique qualities, its integral part in the Australian identity, the role of humour in times of great hardship and other nation’s perceptions of Australian humour. It is through these elements that it will become evident that humour is an important part of the development of the Australian identity.

Australian humour is very unique to Australia. This individual sense of humour is not often found in other Westernised cultures and people from those places may have difficulty understanding it. In some places, the characteristics of Australian humour may not even be considered acceptable behaviour and it would be breaking the law to do so. For example, in Australia, people are free to make jokes about the government, but in other countries this may not be accepted. Some unique and important characteristics of Austral...


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...our in the development of Australian identity has been demonstrated through the ideas previously described. Our humour is very unique and is described as dry, anti-authoritarian, ironic, self-mocking and is able to stretch the boundaries of what is normally accepted by society. This humour plays an important part in the Australian Identity. Many events in Australia’s history have shaped our individual type of humour into what it is today such as the Anzacs at Gallipoli, early federation and settlement. Much of our humour has developed through times of great hardship such as the World Wars. Other countries see humour as a distinctive part of our identity. So it can now be seen that due to the overwhelming information explaining how and why humour is significant, that it can be realised that it played a very fundamental role in the development of Australian identity.

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