Irrational Encounters With The Modern World

It’s All In The Name…

There’s a Jewish American, or an American Jew – whichever heritage takes precedence – on the Glasgow comedy scene, and recently we didn’t quite see eye-to-eye on something. Partly this is due to a height difference of about twelve or fourteen inches, but the air has been cleared now so I only mention this in passing. And to make that joke.

Flicking through the guide for this year’s annual comedy festival, I noticed that the show she is co-headlining  is titled “Culloden: Funny In Retrospect,” and of course some people will find this a little insensitive – especially those with any love for this nation and an awareness of its history, to say nothing of the many romanticised notions about Scotland that are held worldwide. But is it absurd?

With reference to the Battle of Culloden, I would say that – as a Jew – she’ll be familiar with the persecution of a race of stereotypically tight-fisted, religious people, who then had their clothing dictated to them by their oppressors – be it the outlawing of tartan, or the enforced wearing of badges and striped suits.

If only the title also addressed the Highland Clearances, then we could similarly look at the connections between that same persecuted race being forced from their homes and off the land by those same oppressors, before the survivors were largely driven to settle in someone else’s country.

It’s not really absurd, but you can definitely draw parallels with only the barest of knowledge… Although when I drew this to her attention, she pointed out that it was her comedy partner – a Gentile from London – who came up with the title. Which kind of blows my whole analogy out the water, and that’s a pity as I was rather proud of it.

Anyway, if you didn’t get these analogies, you might like to read up on the Holocaust and the repatriation of its survivors. Because I don’t really want to waste this joke, even though it turns out it’s no longer relevant.


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