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Retrieve humour from the gutter.

WHEN mentally unstable people inflict their idea of humour on an unsuspecting world, the result is tragedy, and we have seen it happen in the shocking case of the death of an Indian nurse who answered a prank call from a Sydney radio station and shared information about the Duchess of Cambridge while she was admitted at a London hospital.

The radio jockeys -- one of whom, it now appears, has serious personality issues -- have been excoriated in the social media for their murderous sense of humour.

This sense of outrage is understandable and the demand for the radio station to take responsibility for the fallout of the action of its staffers is not without justification.

Saldanha's death raises questions about the state of humour.

Prank calls by radio stations, which are rampant in India, are just one instance of the degeneration of the idea of humour. It may be because of the pressure on the producers of entertainment to create humour but clean fun is as hard to find as a Golconda diamond.

Toilet humour, sexual innuendo and racial insults pass off as gags, which makes one wonder why our comedians and radio jockeys find it so difficult to outgrow their school- day locker rooms.

Are we condemned to live in a world crowded with demented humour- mongers blessed with the IQ of a pea? Where's the matured humour that draws its inspiration from the upper reaches of the human intellect? This is the humour that defines Doonesbury or The Simpsons . And we saw it at its refined best in the Yes Minister series ( followed by Yes Prime Minister ), which remain etched on the collective memory of a generation.

Humour has become a victim of mass production. We need to rescue it from the assembly line. Every civilisation must learn to laugh at its foibles, but this refined pursuit cannot be left to the toilet scrapers.

The death of a nurse who was the victim of a prank highlights all that's wrong with what is passed off as humour today

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Dec 11, 2012
Words:356
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