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Yeah, that [insert cliche] Tasmanian Joke

At nearly 50 years of age I find it increasingly difficult to deal with those boring cliche Tasmanian jokes. Two heads. Inbreeding. And here is my rote response to that banal cliche so that into the future I can just link back to this article as a single response. You can read it at your repeated leisure.

First, your cliche joke is unoriginal and unfunny in any context. So don’t imagine we’ve never heard it. Please, get new material and try not to push statements at me that are about putting me and my family down. I’ll get bored with you.

Second, it’s 2013 and those jokes are no longer socially appropriate – like sexism in the workplace or calling people from other cultures by derogatory names. These cliche Tasmanian jokes spring from the worst level of bigotry because the person saying the joke obviously sees no harm. I’d suggest they go into a gay bar and tell derogatory gay jokes. Or try humouring the Irish with rapier wit next St Patrick’s Day. Or attend an ANZAC Parade and make jokes about the Army or Navy. It’s inappropriate and it won’t be welcomed by the recipient.

Third, I want you to think about the dynamic behind that bigoted conversation about Tasmanian incest and deformity. It’s very high school. From my perspective, it’s having school bullies try to surround me and force me to say horrible things about my own family. My parents; my children. No, I’m not the butt of anybody’s jokes on a 2013 school bus – on or off the Internet. I’m a grown man with several hard earned university degrees and a long history of standing my ground with bare knuckles and blood in the hard yards of Her Majesty’s prisons.

Fourth, I’m a proud Tasmanian. My five times great grandfather was a First Fleeter who arrived on the Alexander and, after serving his seven years out on Norfolk Island, was granted a parcel of land at Kangaroo Point on the Derwent River, Tasmania. I have lineage through my grandmother to Rockingham Castle in Jutland. Our family settled and built infrastructure; we were publicans, farmers, reverends and bushrangers. And my mother’s father was a Norwegian photographer who jumped ship in 1890. My cousin rode in a Melbourne Cup. We’ve had soldiers on the front lines in every War from the Boer onward. So don’t expect me to ridicule or debase my family for a bigoted joke. Would you disparage your own kith and kin? I doubt it. And would you ridicule your family to be accepted by others? No.

Fifth, don’t be upset or shocked when I display a lack of humour. Consider how funny I might think painting your face with baby shit would be and how unfunny you would find it. Again, I’d suggest you go tell some racist jokes to indigenous Australians or African Americans. Just as nigger isn’t funny to those people because it’s verbal filth, the same applies to inferences that my land of birth implies inbreeding and less-worthiness. I only accept being equal. Bigots are unwelcome.

Yes, sometimes I cringe inside and parry back when these jokes arise. It’s like instantly dying inside from disappointment. But any response is just the positive me hoping the other party will quickly transition onto another subject. It nearly never works. And often the offending person, as good bigots do, respond by pushing out further derision and will say I asked for it because I led them on. Or they escalate to somehow make it about my criminal history, instead of their bigoted views.

Let me leave you with this thought. How can telling somebody that their family is full of deformed inbreeders be at all friendly on any level? In any context. Think about it a little. If somebody came up, slapped you on the back and said you fuck your mother… what would your emotional response be? Honestly. That’s exactly how funny the cliche Tasmanian jokes are to a Tasmanian.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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