I love a good joke.? However, ethic jokes have a very bad rep, often for good reason? If a joke is meant to demean or insult, it is not funny.? But if it is meant to poke fun with no criminal intent, I feel it is fine.? For instance, I recently heard a Jewish joke that I think is funny:? How does Moses make his tea?? He brews.
If you don’t get it, say it out loud.? It is a pun, a play on words that does not insult in any way.? I feel the same about Irish jokes, ones that are now being bandied about all over the Internet because of St. Patrick’s Day.? No insult, no foul.? Yet, too often, so-called? “Polack jokes” that were meant to insult and demean the Polish are now rebranded as Irish in “honor” of the day.? Let me demonstrate.? First, I will give a joke I like and next one I do not.
A Presbyterian minister from England was assigned to a new church in Northern Ireland.? On his first Sunday, he was driving home when he ran into another car at a blind intersection in the wilds of county Londonderry.? When the other driver hopped out of his car and came over to him, the minister’s eyes went wide.? He was a Catholic priest, wearing his clerical collar.? Now the Catholics and Protestants are known to have some issues and many Irish don’t love the English, so the minister braced himself for the worst.? The priest leaned down and peered in the minister’s window.? “Are you alright?”? The minister breathed a sigh of relief and got out of his car.
“I think so.? A little shaky is all.”
“Ah, me too.”? The priest looked down at the dented fenders.? “They’re bejanxed.? I fear we need roadside assistance.? I’ll call on my mobile.”? The priest walked off a bit and called.? Then he came back to the minister.? “You look brutal.? I could use a nip to steel me nerves.? How ’bout you?? I’ve got a bottle of Jamesons in the boot (trunk).”
The minister was relieved that all the horrible things he’d heard about the the Irish Catholics weren’t true.? A drink sounded good.? “I could use a short one.”
The priest opened his trunk and pulled out a bottle of Irish whiskey.? He opened it and handed it to the minister who took a swig and handed it back. The priest studied him.? “You still look a bit pale, lad.? Would you like another?”? The minister gladly took another stiff drink and handed it back to the priest.? “That’s enough for me. The rest is yours.”
The priest screwed the cap back on and dropped the bottle back in his trunk.? “I’ll wait until after the Guarda (police) have been here.”
The Catholic priest is a bit wily, but you like him.? Maybe if you’re a Presbyterian minister you might be upset at the gullibility of that character, but no one is an idiot in the joke.? It’s funny without being insulting.? Now compare it to this one I found on the Net:
Pat and Mick landed themselves a job at a sawmill.? Just before morning tea Pat yelled, “Mick! I lost me finger!”? “Have you now?” says Mick. “And how did you do it?” “I just touched this big spinning thing here like thi–Damn! There goes another one!”
The Irishman could be Polish, Jewish or whatever ethnic group you want to insult.? It has nothing to do with Ireland or the Irish.? It’s intent is to make a certain ethnic group look stupid.? It is a not funny.? Why do such jokes persist?? Maybe just to make little people feel bigger by putting someone else down,? The old saying is that dying is easy, but comedy is hard.? Let’s let the stupid, insulting jokes die and go for the hard comedy.