From Frank Richards of The Magnet

Correspondence with George Orwell, via David Friedman.

As for foreigners being funny I must shock Mr. Orwell by telling him that foreigners are funny. They lack the sense of humour which is the special gift of our own chosen nation: and people without a sense of humour are always unconsciously funny. Take Hitler for example,- with his swastika, his \”good German sword\”, his fortifications named after characters from Wagner, his military coat that he will never take off until he marches home victorious: and the rest of his fripperies out of the property-box. In Germany they lap this up like milk, with the most awful seriousness: in England the play-acting ass would be laughed out of existence. Take Mussolini- can anyone imagine a fat man in London talking the balderdash that Benito talks in Rome to wildly-cheering audiences without evoking, not wild cheers, but inextinguishable laughter? But is il Duce regarded as a mountebank in Italy? Very far from it. I submit to Mr. Orwell that people who take their theatricals seriously are funny. The fact that Adolf Hitler is deadly dangerous does not make him less comic.

That he is echoing God\’s gift to the English language, the man who gave us \”did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher\” and the satire of the black footie bags, only just emphasies how much he is right.

3 thoughts on “From Frank Richards of The Magnet”

  1. To be fair Orwell did point out that that the British Army could not do the goose step because “people in the street would laugh” and that its style of marching was a “formalised walk”.He also used humour (in Animal Farm) to greater political effect than Wodehouse.( Perhaps Wodehouse was too subtle though: the broadcast
    on German radio that got him into trouble was one of his masterpieces but he was skewered for calling the Nazis ” a fine body of men”when this was clearly heavily ironic.)

  2. I hope you lot realize that we out here in the North American colonies, especially Canada, think that the only thing funnier than a German pontificating on anything is a Brit/Scot/Irishman/Welshman pontificating about the British Sense of Humour.

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