Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Am I un-American?

I've always had this creeping feeling that there is buried deep within me a traitor to this great land. It comes out in little ways like my total non-interest in baseball, football or basketball.

A couple years ago I found yet more evidence in a NPR piece about national senses of humor. The Monty Python fans out there know that the world's funniest joke is serious business. Indeed, in the wrong hands, it can be a weapon of mass destruction. However, a crack team of sociologists had braved the dangers of dying laughing to find out what kind of jokes seemed funniest to different nationalities. With careful narrowing of the field, they arrived as a funniest joke for various countries -- one which exemplified their preferences in humor.

Here were some of the winners:

United States
A Texan walks up to a Harvard grad and asks, "Hey there, stranger. Where're you from?"

The Harvard grad response, "I'm from a place where people do not end their sentences with prepositions."

The Texan responds, "All right. Where're you from, asshole?"

Two ferrets at sitting at the bar in a pub. After a few drinks, one of them begins to shout at the other, "I slept with your mother!"

The patrons all stare, waiting to see if a fight will break out, but the second ferret remains calm.

After another drink, the first ferret starts shouting again. "I slept with your mother!"

Again patrons stare, but the second ferret remains calm.

Finally the first ferret knocks back his stool and shouts right in the face of the second ferret, "I slept with you mother! Do you hear me? I slept with your mother!"

The second ferrets pats him on the shoulder and says, "Go home, Dad. You're drunk."

"The other day, when having dinner with my mother in law, I had the most terrible Freudian slip. I meant to say, 'Would you please pass the butter' but instead I said, 'You've ruined my life you silly old cow!'"


Now, I have to confess, I find the French and British jokes way funnier than the American one.


Anonymous said...

But of course... the Bristish and French jokes contain wit... something that the American joke lacked. American comedy is rather deplete of wit.

Rick Lugari said...

Actually, I liked the American joke better than the French one. The French one had potential but the choice of words, " silly old cow!" struck me as terribly lame, even childish.

Of course, Britannia rules when it comes to humor and while I have never associated humor with the French, I do appreciate jokes at their expense.

Rick Lugari said...

...and I think even the British dismis their (the French) wit. Remember in the Holy Grail when the French were hurling stupid insults at the British? "I fart in your general direction!"

The thought of that is even cracking me up as I write. hehe

Darwin said...

Yes, I can't help wondering if "silly old cow" lost something in translation.

Of course, if it was English it might be "tiresome old bag" which does have a lot more of a ring to it...

Der Tommissar said...

Now, I have to confess, I find the French and British jokes way funnier than the American one.

Leave my country. NOW!

John Farrell said...

How could you not mention the Irish??

You're right on this one, though.

And no you're not a traitor--but you do need to rethink the glorious heaven sent wonder that is baseball.


Pro Ecclesia said...

I like the Texas joke, since that is where I am originally FROM ...

Fr Martin Fox said...

I loved the first two, and didn't get the third.

I feel so affirmed!

Julie D. said...

I will say that I heard the "French" joke first done as an American joke between a husband and wife and it definitely was hilarious but also definitely did NOT use "silly old cow." To retain the purity of this blog I will simply direct you here ...

Bernard Brandt said...

I would suspect the reason why the french joke fell flat was that "cow" was probably a bowdlerization of another french word, most probably either cul or con.

And to tell the truth, I was vastly amused by all three of the jokes.

And to close, let me emit an example of what the scholars at Oxenford would call, internal risability:

Your father was a hamster and your mother smelled of elderberries!"

Anonymous said...

And that, my Liege, is how we know the earth to be banana-shaped.

This new learning amazes me, Sir Bedivere. Explain again how sheep's bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes.