Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Bernie Ecclestone is not a humorologist // Three incidents that demonstrate an inability to make jokes

Published by Bridget Schuil

Bernie Ecclestone is not a humorologist (practitioner of humorology). Our Great Leader is a prime example of someone low on the HiQ (humour intelligence quotient) scale. While we have no doubt that his IQ is high, Mr. Ecclestone's ability to make jokes (and endure being the butt of them) is woefully lacking. This is demonstrated by many incidents, but I will only enter into discussion of three to save time.

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1. Pulling the finger when presented with a pimped-out zimmer frame

Mr. Ecclestone appears to have misunderstood one of the foundational concepts of humorology – the 'pull my finger' gag. The proper execution of this gag involves encouraging someone to pull one's finger and breaking wind in response (incidentally, this is the secret handshake of Lumidae, the secret society of humorologists). A humorologist would instead have challenged the nearest senior citizen keen for a bit of competition to a zimmer frame race. Alternatively, Mr. Ecclestone would have taken his recently acquired Newey-design out for a lap of the track and entered his time in the Run That Track database.

2. Using an unfortunate incident to make money

Humorology maintains that any situation, when viewed in the right light, is potentially hilarious – for example, having one's foot chewed off by the family crocodile*. Instead of finding the humour in being mugged, Mr. Ecclestone used his bruises to add to his personal wealth (an act frowned upon by humorology. The goal of life is laughing [enjoying the presence of God†] among us, not succumbing to the heresy of consumerism [using shopping as a substitute for the natural urge to laugh]). I acknowledge that the advert was intended in a humorous manner. However, being relatively low on the HiQ scale, Mr. Ecclestone misunderstood the use of a sick sense of humour (which is, in itself, a sixth sense). A humorologist would have obeyed the Eighth Strong Recommendation‡ and made himself the butt of the joke, not the mugger (although, through the act of using violence, the mugger has shown himself to be extremely low on the HiQ scale).

3. Being sexist in order to make fun of someone

Mr. Ecclestone has said that he would like more women in Formula 1. However, he also said in reference to Danica Patrick, that women should race in white overalls in order to match other household appliances. As previously noted, a sick sense of humour is something to be admired, but jokes should be composed skillfully; sexist/racist/homophobic/otherwise bigoted jokes are clumsy. In addition, this is another contravention of the Eigth Strong Recommendation‡. Perhaps his use of irony was lost in the translation between the spoken word and the written one; we'll never know. My HiQ is not high enough to craft an alternative, more funny version of the joke...perhaps someone whose sense of humour out-does mine can suggest one.

All we need is for Martin Whitmarsh to shift his prank-playing urges from Eddie Jordan to Mr. Ecclestone

Having presented my evidence, I feel compelled to suggest a solution. We, as motorsport fans and thus fun-loving creatures, cannot have a leader without a sense of humour. However, we are not to mock those who have low HiQs; it's not their fault that they aren't naturally gifted in this area. It is our duty to enlighten them. Red Bull have begun the process, and Adrian Newey deserves an honourable mention for designing the vehicle of the joke (yes, pun intended). Mr. Ecclestone's miseducation needs to be continued in 2011, since eighty years without a sense of humour have left Mr. Ecclestone with some unfortunate frown-lines. Now all we need is for Martin Whitmarsh to shift his prank-playing urges from Eddie Jordan to Mr. Ecclestone – the upper echelons of the BBC is obviously populated with humourless people who don't see the funny side of minor vandalism.

* Note: crocodiles are not practical house pets. Their size and fondness for eating humans are among the reasons to not keep them in the home. To their credit, they do keep the rate of household theft down.

† One of the core beliefs of humorology is that laughter is the presence of God among us. Thus, one who laughs a lot is creating Heaven on Earth, while one who refuses to laugh is contributing to the Hell we find around us. (I capitalised the word “God” because of personal grammatical beliefs [that one should capitalise proper nouns; “God”, being a word that describes a specific entity, is therefore considered a proper noun]; this does not represent the views of Humorology. Humorologists believe that God has enough of a sense of humour to not mind that his/her name is not capitalised.)

‡ As quoted in the Sacred Texts of Humorology – also known as the Laugh It Off Annual – Volume 3: When looking for someone to make fun of, always put yourself before others.