Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chock-værd... Shock value

Sommetider tingene at jeg ser på dansk fjernsyn laver mig STOPPE og KIGGE igen...
Sometimes the things I see on Danish TV make me STOP and LOOK again....


Bogstavlig oversættelse af "Sort Humor".... "black humor"
Literal translation of "Sort Humor"....."black humor"

Mads forklarede til mig at Sort Humor ikke er fordi Eddie Murphy var på fjernsyn..... men jeg fortalte stadig ham: "Du kunne ALDRIG sige dette på fjernsyn i Amerika!!"

Mads explained to me that "Sort Humor" had nothing to do with the fact that Eddie Murphy was on the tv....but I still told him, "You could NEVER say that on the tv in America!!"

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sort humor means a dark sense of humor, or sarcasm. It has nothing to do with race.
We don't have the past that you have in the (southern) US.
Traditionally Denmark was all white. That's the way it was for several millenia. Luckily it's not like that anymore, but the way danes use colors to discribe certain things still reflect a sociaty where people didn't need to be afraid of offending people of color, because there were no one here to be offended. It's a bit naive, but on the other hand, why should we change our language, because of a past that we were not a part of?


P.s. My name is Astrid. I'm not anonymous because I don't want to be found, but because I dont have any of the other IDs that I can use. I stumbled across this blog and I really enjoy reading about Denmark from this unique perspective. It makes me think about a lot of things that are easy to take for granted when you have lived here the majority of your life.

Mom said...

Can't get the video to play??

Simon Gray said...

It's called the same in English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_comedy

I wouldn't say that Eddie Murphy's stand-up routines normally qualify as black humour, though.

Mads and Kelli said...

Hi Simon...read what Astrid (anon) wrote...this is what I meant when Mads told me that it had nothing to do with him being black...

We also have a saying in DK called "sort arbejder"...black work but it is referring to "off the clock" work you do without reporting taxes....

I was shocked because in the US this statement on TV would be TOTALLY politically incorrect... :o)

LadyFi said...

mmm.. it does seem a bit odd putting black comedy together with Eddie Murphy... I guess it was just a coincidence - I don't think the people in charge thought anything of it.

Talking of language slip-ups, when other languages use English: last year, Nogger ice cream brought out an ice cream on the stick called Nogger Black... I think that this was provocative and shocking as they were playing on words deliberately.

LadyFi said...

Back to words like: black work... in Sweden they say: negerjobb... Many Swedes claim that the N-word is not offensive, even though many Afro-Swedes, and others, tell them that it is offensive. It is even now legally against the law to call chocolate balls 'negerboll' (ni--- balls). Many people react as Astrid has described, wondering why they should change the language, for example.

The reason is simple: when black people tell you that they are offended by this language, then it is offensive. In fact, I believe that this is a kind of hidden racism, if you like, and one that we should no longer tolerate in the 21st century...

I certainly hope that my kids (of African origin) will not have to suffer such slights when they grow up!

Jesper said...

Love dark sense of humor, love sarcasm, love politically incorrect - I find it refreshing. It can be used as a good way to break the ice...and to offend people if they are sensitive - unfortunately there is a thin line between the two!

Anonymous said...

LadyFi: I think there is a difference between a word like negerjobb (really? they say that in Sweden? wow!) and a word like black work. The first clearly relates to race and is very offensive. The second relates to color, and is much more like the word 'moon lighting', that I have heard used to describe the same thing in the US. It's work that's done after hours, when it's dark outside. At least that's how I've always understood it. I would never use a word that's related to race in a way that could be offensive.
But black is not a race. It's a color. It's used to describe a lot of things that has nothing to do with race: black work, the black dead (plague), black humor, black bad luck, black money. It's not related to race, it's just a color that is used to describe things...
I think Jesper is rigth.
There is a very thin line. I think it's hard to define it. A lot of words are highly offensive in English, but not in Danish. And at the same time, some words or expressions that are not offensive in English are very offensive in Danish. You can't always do a direct translation and expect the meaning of the words to be the same.

Astrid

May said...

Negerboller is no longer politically correct in Denmark. I think I've only heard it spoken out loud once when I was about 9 or 10 years old and I was utterly shocked, but I never thought that "boller" were referring to balls! I'm shocked all over again! I always assumed the word was referring to "buns" - as in food buns.

I think political correctness is a balance between not offending anyone on one hand and not have to change an entire language or watch one's every single word and actions out of fear of inadvertedly offending someone. These are the kind of issues that in my opinion do create barriers between people.

Like the word "sister" can be rude in Danish, depending on how it's used, but I wouldn't expect non-Danes to take something like this into consideration. :)

In my opinion compromise and mutual respect and understanding is the way forward.

Mads and Kelli said...

at least after reading all the comments, I relaize that I am not the only one who was taken aback by this... I think we need to be so careful how we say things and the terms we use... there is always a chance of offending someone in a way that we do not understand.