49 thoughts on “Cultural Ethics Check: Considering “The Re-Enactment Of The Battle Of Pearl Harbor”

  1. Its funny because it is obviously a farce. One must remember that British comedy is irreverent. Sometimes you just have to laugh to stay sane. Finding fault or labeling something is in poor taste makes a person a stick in the mud. Would we find it funny if the skit was about the battle of Britain – sure so what difference does it make especially when the Brits took a bigger pounding from the Luftwaffe then we did from Hirohito’s zeros. I also find jokes about British dental work amusing.

    I wonder when the Benny Hill reruns will be back on TV. I am sure all the ladies will appreciate his humor.

    • Exactly, DG. They’re making fun of the BBC and silly, frumpy British newscasters and their preposterous educational programming.

      • Yeah, none of the options really fit my opinion. Dark and irreverent humor (or humour I guess) is still bigger there. I liked the framing part and earnest amateurs but then it stopped. The gender wasn’t the reason, it would have been just as unfunny if they were all men in the skit.

        I thought the whole idea of reenactors taking on a sacred cow of another culture (and commenting on similar sacred cows of their own by reflection) to have been and still clever. The first part, the set up, had me snickering. But the ‘battle,’ rolling around in the mud brawl just wasn’t relevant to mocking Pearl Harbor. I can think of other payoffs for that setup that would have been a riot, like flaming balsa airplanes ‘lighting their frizzy hair on fire’ into chaos.

        This mockery is mocking all battles by its irrelevance and genericness, it could have been as much against Waterloo, the Hittite battle of Kadesh, or against the future Falklands conflict. It is not about mocking Pearl Harbor or even over earnest amateur actors. It was an antiwar mockery and perhaps early hints of the more recent European thread of Peace at any cost and appeasement. But maybe I’m overthinking a humor troop that didn’t always jump the cultural divide. It started out funny and then dropped like a dead flying pig.

  2. When the following is spoken in a high falutin Victortian English accent this one liner got great laughs on Carson. “I am lucky to be born with great ability to laugh at others misfortune”

    Dame Edna

    Everything must be taken in context.

  3. There’s always going to be some upper class twit who objects to some naughty bit of it. You have to keep in mind that when they made this show they weren’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition.

  4. I’d never seen that skit. It’s so god damned funny. Where are the airplanes? Where are the battleships? Where are the Japanese admirals? The Battle of Pearl Harbor involved hand to hand combat? I’m guessing the women’s guild was confusing Pearl Harbor with Hastings. Sorry.

  5. I… don’t get it. I mean…. yeah, a bunch of guys mud-wrestling in dresses with a pig in the background is kind of funny… But I feel like I’m missing something. It might be because I’m 30, The skit is 50, and Pearl Harbor is almost 80.

  6. Yes, it’s funny, in particular because it is in very poor taste.

    Which reminds me, Fawlty Towers is back on Netflix, gotta binge watch it again.

  7. It comes off more as dumb than funny. I thought this would be more a question of is it alright to reenact that particular historic event seriously. As a regular Air Show Gore I can tell you there is in fact a group of about 10 Pilots called Tora Tora Tora! that reenact the attack on Pearl Harbor at airshows, complete with Sirens, pyrotechnics, and display of the Rising Sun flag at the end. I could see people raising questions about that, or raising questions about a Battle of Britain enactment I saw in the UK this past summer where reproduction Messerschmitts, complete with swastikas on the tails, battled Spitfires amidst smoke dramatic music and sound effects. There I could see it a legitimate question. This just looks silly. However that’s not to say I don’t appreciate Monty Python. After all, that’s where I heard the joke about “what’s brown and sounds like a bell?”

    • This is as good a place as any to explain the humor theory behind the skit.

      1. The idea of a ladies club re-enacting any battle, not to mention an air attack, is ridiculous on its face.
      2. The seriousness in which the “re-enactment is introduced is pure W.S. Gilbert, in which a ridiculous premise is treated with utmost seriousness.
      3. Comedy suspense is created when one sees the “ladies” who are “ready” for their drama, and you wonder, “What the heck are they going to do?”
      4. One does not expect a complete brawl in the mud. Comic surprise. 5. The brawl is amazingly all-out, fought by men in dresses and lady’s underwear.

      That’s what especially got me. Modern day actors won’t do this kind of thing. You have to choreograph all the violence out of it, making for lousy slapstick. What commitment! Commitment to fight like crazy in dresses and in the mud to evoke Pearl Harbor!

    • Agreed. I think it’s a demographic problem, as evidenced by the comments. Monty Python is based on making fun of a very particular phenomenon: British television. As well as other British peculiarities such as a large homosexual population, a predilection for cross-dressing and generally being ridiculous without acknowledging it. Maybe Monty Python hasn’t aged well as a result of Britishness having become watered down over the last fifty years. So, I guess it’s an acquired taste which has to have been acquired in the ’70s and ’80s.

    • As Colonel Pickering would have said: I think you’ve got it!
      The cue, of course, was the intro announcing that it was following their previous hit “reenactment of Nazi atrocities.” Anyone who didn’t think that was funny should have tuned out at that point.

      And No Fair not keeping context in mind. The skit had was not satirizing women in particular — crossdressing was a Python schtick and beside the point — it was lampooning the reputation of the WI, The Women’s Institute, a British tradition going back to 1887 when, as the first Women’s Guild, it came under the purview of the puritanical Church of Scotland as a small-c conservative, uptight, rather stuffy organization dedicated to “good works” (which it did to heroic measure in two world wars). As the largest women’s volunteer organization in the UK, a monolith of its kind, the WI lends itself to cliché and parody. This is reportedly taken in good humor by its members but is probably regarded by as much dissent as among commenters here.

        • PA, thanks for knowing all this about the WI and finding this equally hilarious video. And expert scone maker. This is better than a Monty Python skit. The Brits are so good at parody because they’re so expert at making parodies of themselves.

          • Isn’t is amazing? I once wondered just how conscious they were of themselves and then realized they were the ones who “invented” Monty Python and gave it to the world. What a gift!

  8. Some deranged person just ran up the total for “its demeans women,” perhaps the dumbest of all the options. I suppose I’m going to have to re-set the polls top ban multiple responses.

    See, you silly humorless feminist scold? You’ve spoiled it for everybody!

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