The Meaningful Life with Andrew G. Marshall

Ep8. Tim Dowling - Can cynicism improve your life?

November 30, 2020

Guardian columnist Tim Dowling has spent thirteen years chronicling his marriage and family life for the Weekend magazine. His self-deprecating humour and determinedly cynical approach have made him hugely popular with readers. Rare is the Saturday Guardian reader who doesn’t flip first to the magazine to see what’s happening with Tim’s pets, banjo career and family. 

In this episode, Tim and Andrew discuss the layers that go into a joke. What exactly is it that we’re doing when we laugh at ourselves and our own life? Humour can be about storytelling, making sense of the past, finding honesty and creating meaning. It can be a defence mechanism, and a form of self-protection for the intensely shy. 

Tim’s readers have watched him move from the chaos of working and parenting younger children to a different stage of midlife. The column has changed, and so has everyone featured in it. Andrew and Tim discuss new hobbies, the relaxation that can come with being older, and the boundaries that need to go up when writing about family for so long. 

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