Dear Aunty Em: Druncle

Galdalf, while wise, was also a bit of a joker with the fireworks
Galdalf, while wise, was also a bit of a joker with the fireworks

‘What to do if your uncle keeps telling misogynistic jokes? I should mention that he’s 80 (so possibly unlikely to change at this advanced age) and quite sweet otherwise (though he’s also a Trump supporter and thinks all Muslims are terrorists-in-waiting.) Where are all the wise elders? (swallowed by the cult of youth?). My Aunty and I just grin and bear his jokes (and they do seem innocent at the time of telling) but women have been doing that for centuries. It’s so hard to know when to speak up and when to let things go.’

 – Anon

Dear Anon,

Oh, old people. They come from a time when women knew their place (in the kitchen) and xenophobia was de rigeur due to the wars. Australian Aborigines weren’t even considered legally human until after the 1967 referendum so your uncle has seen a lot of change over his lifetime. He must have conniptions when he watches MTV. So much nudity and profanity! The young people have no respect!

You and your uncle are from different worlds. Like anyone who has travelled a lot, you will know how excruciating it is when the Australian sense of humour doesn’t translate. You make what you think is a hilarious joke and all you receive is blank stares and tilted heads. Best case scenario: polite laughter. Worst case scenario: offence.

In the same way that Abraham Lincoln was probably a hoot after a few moonshines back in the day, your uncle was probably funny in 1943.

Treat him like you would any piece of antique curios: with gentleness and a degree of caution. If you really can’t handle his jokes any more, sit him down for a good dose of Amy Schumer and see who’s offended now.







1 comment on “Dear Aunty Em: Druncle

  1. “With gentleness and a degree of caution…” Nicely put! Like culture clash, generations can clash on so many ideas. We are products of nurture and this woman’s grandpa probably really doesn’t know any better. Tolerance for different ideas (even offensive ones) is a quality I wish more people had.

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