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Why are Irish jokes okay, but black jokes or Jewish jokes are not?

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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:10 PM
Original message
Why are Irish jokes okay, but black jokes or Jewish jokes are not?
I know that it's okay to forward jokes about drunk Irishmen, especially around St. Patrick's day. I'm 1/4 Irish myself, but honestly I'd send them even if I weren't. Hell, I've seen a few of them posted on DU, and no one makes a fuss. Same for "cheap Scotsman" jokes.

I DON'T FEEL BAD ABOUT THAT.

I also know that "jokes" like the "Top Ten Reasons Why There Are No Black NASCAR Drivers" make the email rounds.

THESE JOKES MAKE ME FEEL SICK TO MY STOMACH.

Note that I am not arguing that black jokes should be OK to send, just because Irish jokes are OK to send.

I'm just wondering why we don't feel bad about Irish (or Scot) jokes, when in all fairness it seems like we should. I mean, both Irish jokes and black jokes are based on ethnic stereotypes, so they're basically wrong.

Right?

Maybe it's because black people were oppressed for so long (and still are), whereas the Irish haven't been oppressed since the early 1900's. And AFAIK no one keeps Irish out of country clubs, but Jews are still blackballed.

Any other ideas? Why are some kinds of ethnic minority jokes OK, but the others are not?

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ghostsofgiants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:18 PM
Response to Original message
1. I think it partially has to do with the difference between the history of Irish and Black people ...
A major reason there is more of a sensitivity toward Black race issues is because of the history of slavery and segregation. It's not like this is the only racial or ethnic injustice that has occurred in America, but it is much more out in the open, so there is a greater sensitivity to it as a result. (Not that that sensitivity means that racism against Black people has been wiped out or anything, it's clear that it hasn't.)
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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I think so, too and I'm mostly Irish.
Those jokes don't really bother me because I haven't been oppressed due to my heritage. My ancestors? Well, that's another story.
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ghostsofgiants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I'm a Newfie.
And part Irish. The jokes about me are endless, haha.

But you're right, I have no direct history of oppression of me or my people that really affects my life the way slavery and segregation still resonates for Black people, so I don't see the jokes as a means of demoralizing me the way a joke about a black person might be seen.
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. Seriously, how does a Newfie joke go?
Are they the same as Polish jokes? I'm too far from New England to ever hear a Newfie joke.



But I do know to say "Newf'nLAND", not "Newf'nl'n"
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #13
19. Yeah, pretty much. At least the ones I heard
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ghostsofgiants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #13
23. I honestly don't remember any, haha.
Not really my type of humour.
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moriah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 12:01 AM
Response to Reply #13
60. Here's a Newfie joke, told to me by a person from Ontario.
You have three Canadians -- a "regular Canadian" (this particular person set the "regular Canadian" as being from Ontario), a person from Quebec, and a Newfie. They find a genie lamp and rub the lamp.

"Okay, you each get one wish."

Newfie: "I wish for a beautiful home in Quebec, right on the St. Lawrence River".

Quebec-ian: "I want a huge 1000-foot tall wall to be built all around Quebec, letting no one in and no one out."

Reg. Canadian: "I want Quebec to flood."
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MichiganVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #1
30. Every group has shit. The history of the Irish includes slavery too.
But really, why are Irish jokes accepted by the Irish---cuz' we laugh at everybody.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #30
41. Yeah we do, especially ourselves
Edited on Thu Jul-03-08 06:34 PM by Breeze54
and I've been attacked for thinking stuff was hilarious that others didn't think was so funny! :P

So much for pointing out irony. :eyes:

The Irish see it all to clearly and do laugh about it and themselves, at every opportunity! :P

That's why they have that song...

"When Irish eyes are smiling, the whole world smiles with you..." or something like that! :D
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MichiganVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #41
52. Same thing happens to me. I love irony.
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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
56. I really think the Irish were subjugated and segregated and
there was a concerted effort to drive some of my ancestors from the British Isles.

But I digress.
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Rhythm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:21 PM
Response to Original message
3. I don't like any of this crap, personally... e-mails like that (regarding any ethnicity)
i send back to the sender, along with a note telling them to keep their crap, TYVM. I have even done so to my own mom, who is a lifelong Southerner with a bigot streak a mile wide.

None of it's funny

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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. Well clearly you haven't heard the one about Seamus and the Guinness factory















:hide:



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TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
5. Lot of Polish jokes too.
IIRC, there was a time when there where lots of Irish immigrants coming over here, and much like the Mexicans who come today, I think there was a lot of resentment and stereotyping that probably produced a lot of the jokes we hear today.
I think a lot of the Polish jokes (and my family has some Polish ancestry so I am a bit sensitive) comes from WWII when Germany destroyed the Polish army in several days, leading to the belief that Poles were inferior/stupid..etc..
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Pierre.Suave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:32 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Or Norwegian jokes...
We get a lot of those up here you know...

ya, sure...
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. Ooh, ooh, I just got one of those today!
Reverend Ole was the pastor of the local Norwegian Lutheran Church,
and Pastor Sven was the minister of the Swedish Covenant Church across
the road. One day they were seen pounding a big sign into the ground that said:

'DA END ISS NEAR! TURN YERSELF AROUND NOW BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE'

As a car sped past them, the driver leaned out his window and yelled,
'Leave us alone, you religious nuts!'

From the curve they heard screeching tires and a big splash... Rev. Ole
turns to Pastor Sven and asks, 'Do ya tink maybe da sign should yust
say 'Bridge Out'?'
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Pierre.Suave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Ah yes
the Sven and Ole jokes...
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suninvited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #14
44. That was a funny joke
but wasn't it an athiest joke? Has that been addressed yet?
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datasuspect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
6. what about polish jokes?
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Ptah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. What could be funny about that?


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WildEyedLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:26 PM
Response to Original message
7. Honestly, the Irish ones do bother me
I'm part Irish, and no, I'm not oppressed, by my ancestors sure as hell were, and thanks in part to the same stereotypes peddled by the English to justify "Home Rule" because the Irish were allegedly too stupid, drunk, savage etc. to govern themselves. 1916 isn't ancient history, either.

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MichiganVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #7
31. Just can't beat a famine for a good time.
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Redstone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
9. Because unlike most other ethnic groups, the Irish LOVE Irish jokes. And I know this because
Edited on Thu Jul-03-08 12:32 PM by Redstone
besides being half Irish, I used to play Irish music. And the audience loved, and EXPECTED to hear some Irish jokes.

As far as I know, no other etnhic group likes to make fun of themselves as much. Except they DO like to make fun of the English.

Redstone
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tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:33 PM
Response to Original message
11. fair point
Edited on Thu Jul-03-08 12:33 PM by tigereye
Ireland had the average amount of alcoholism or less until recently, anyway...

(mostly Irish here) :hi:
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
15. I think in part this is due to the Irish ability to laugh at one's self.
We (half Irish myself) have suffered much and if we didn't know how to laugh at ourselves as well as others, we would have long since gone collectively mad. (Some may argue this happened anyway)
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PVnRT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:49 PM
Response to Original message
17. Let's all agree to make fun of Andorrans
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kay1864 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. Yeah, I hate those guys. Blue-skinned freaks.

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Chan790 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. So these two Andorrans walk into a bar...
"Em fa mal!" "Em fa mal!"
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PassingFair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
20. Because "Irishness" is invisible.
Being black and, to a lesser degree, being Jewish is
being a part of an identifiable group.

Unless you're wandering around in a Leprechaun suit or
"kiss me, I'm Irish" buttons, you could pass as 1/4 Polish,
or English, or WHATEVER....
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pink-o Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
22. It comes from being American
...My grandmother (maternal) was Scots-Irish--basically white trash farm girl from Indiana. Family immigrated during the potato famine, barely eked out a living because their name was Tracy, not Vanderbilt or Astor. However...2 generations later her descendents are part of the American mainstream, and with white skin and a cross around their necks, they can move freely thru American society without much prejudice.

This seems to be true for all Western European immigrants, and a few Eastern ones (the Christian ones) as well. So ethnic jokes that feature white Europeans don't have the same stigma as the ones that make fun of Jews, Latinos or African Americans--who still face oppression or hostility in 21st century.

My grandfather (paternal) pretty well had his story set to music in a play called "Fiddler on the Roof". So I can tell ya, I don't mind Irish jokes at all, but only a Jew can tell a Jewish joke and get away with it.

The best idea is to find humour in putting down the oppressors. One thing about Bush is he's been a great target for comedians the last 8 years! Jon Stewart tried a schtick on Obama last week that fell totally flat.
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cloudbase Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
24. Aggie jokes. n/t
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 01:53 PM
Response to Original message
25. Because the Irish have the best sense of humor
And will not take offense.

Im of Irish descent. Say what you will about us, we can always take a joke and will always be willing to make a joke!

Drunken Irishman is a redundancy! LOL!
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MichiganVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #25
32. Hands down. Nobody can laugh like the Irish---at everyone and everything.
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martymar64 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #25
48. Didn't an Irishman write"101 Ways to Start a Fight"?
Or did you hear about the Irish gay couple Gerald Fitzpatrick and Patrick Fitzgerald? They used to hang out at the gay bar called Sodomy and Begora.


And who said us Krauts have no sense of humor?
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mitchum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 01:06 AM
Response to Reply #48
61. I recycled the old Gerald and Patrick bit..
when Massachusetts passed gay marriage.
ms michum said that she couldn't believe that she fell for my set up. I told her, "That's what comedy is all about baby. Puting old wine in new bottles! That's what seperates we masters and you mortals"
Then she hit me with a shoe.
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datasuspect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 02:24 PM
Response to Original message
26. the rolling stones said, "hey you, get off of my cloud"
the scotsman said, "hey mccloud, get off of my ewe."
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nomorenomore08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #26
38. Good one!
:spray:

I've heard that joke before, of course, but it's still funny, especially since I was just listening to that song earlier today.
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datasuspect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
27. a rabbi walks into a bar with a frog on his shoulder
the bartender asks, "where'd ya get that?"

the frog says, "in brooklyn, there's tons of them."
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SacredCow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 02:37 PM
Response to Original message
28. You can extend it past ethnic minorities, really....
Edited on Thu Jul-03-08 02:43 PM by SacredCow
Why does it seem that when every hack sitcom writer wants a quick laugh, he'll throw in a "hairy back" joke? Why are some jokes OK and some not? I think a lot of it depends on the intention of the person telling the joke, and the perception of the person hearing the joke, and it's hard to quantify those things.

As a gay man, sometimes I bristle at gay jokes (say anything coming out of the mouths of O'Reilly, Limbaugh, or the like) because I (regretfully) know what their minds contain. Yet, when Family Guy, or Southpark throws out a gay joke, I usually find myself laughing along because I am reasonably certain that it wasn't intended in a hateful way. I know that some disagree with this, however.


On edit- it's probably the same kind of phenomenon as one gay man calling another a "fag" or a "queer" being OK in some circles.
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nomorenomore08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #28
39. You're right, it is very subjective. Sometimes to the point of seeming downright hypocritical.
But everyone has their own opinion as to what's "okay" or "not okay" humor-wise, and it's not like we live in a perfectly logical world anyway. All I will say is that we shouldn't let other people tell us what we can or can't laugh at - because really, why would you concede that degree of control to another person? :shrug:
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Phillycat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 02:38 PM
Response to Original message
29. Because the Irish really ARE all drunks?
:D
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MichiganVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #29
33. Based on my family--one of 10 will be sober..uh, that would be me.
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AccessGranted Donating Member (687 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
34. I'm Black and Agnostic And My SO Is Irish and Catholic
We've got nuttin' but stereotypes and love here - hahaha. My neice, whom we're around often, is Black obviously and her husband is Italian. Can you imagine? We all just laugh at each other. Nobody cares.
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Hardrada Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 05:42 PM
Response to Original message
35. I think Sven and Ole jokes are really aimed at all Scandinavians
except maybe the Danes and Finns. Being all Norwegian by background, I like them best told by my compatriots.
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JVS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. Finns aren't scandinavians!
Or so some would say
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Hardrada Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #37
42. OK but they are Looootherans!
Incidentally we never hear any German jokes. Why is that?
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martymar64 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #42
49. The closest to jokes about germans is Sprockets with Dieter
"You intimidate me to the point of humiliation. Do you wish to strike me?"
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Hardrada Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 10:46 PM
Response to Reply #49
55. Ja, Sprockets was funny.
Good old SNL!
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mitchum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 05:47 PM
Response to Original message
36. Because those Paddys are too drunk to notice
and any half-witted hack can always come up with a "drunken Irishman joke" (see my subject line for proof :))
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skooooo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #36
47. ...

:rofl:
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
40. Maybe because Conan tells a lot of Irish jokes ?
I'm 100% Irish and I don't mind them except the old stereo type drunken Irish jokes.
Those make me ill. My Dad had 1 or 2 beers after work each day and some sharp cheddar
cheese and crackers and that was it. A six pack lasted a week! My Mom didn't even drink
the champagne toast at my wedding! That's how straight they were!!
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Mutley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
43. I've got a lot of Irish in me, and Irish jokes only bother me
when I'm in a mood anyway. At those times I'm liable to latch onto anything to be mad about.

:D
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Hardrada Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 06:40 PM
Response to Original message
45. Father Murphy jokes ( a subspecies of Irish joke)
I heard a great one a few years back but I can only remember the punch line. It was something like "But Father Murphy's only hearing murder confessions tonight."

Someone help me with that one!
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skooooo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
46. Because Irish-Americans are ubiquitous and indistinguishable..

...from the "majority" population....unless they're catholic I guess.
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sniffa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 06:57 PM
Response to Original message
50. I'm reminded of an old, Mad Magazine comic: Jokes That the Polish Tell About Americans
(or something like that)

The one joke I remember is,

"Q: How does an American get out of debt?

A: Death."

Still seems true 20+ years later.
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Elidor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 07:10 PM
Response to Original message
51. Ultimately, it all comes down to intent
Edited on Thu Jul-03-08 07:11 PM by Hardhead
Most Irish jokes aren't mean-spirited, regardless of their appropriateness. But as with all such jokes, friends get much greater leeway than strangers. And I'm certain there are Irish-descended people who are utterly tired of all such jokes. I'm not one of them, but there must be some out there.

I hate it when people are scared to make fun of eachother. We all deserve to be made fun of. We're such crazy little monkeys, all of us. How could anyone take humans seriously, except when we're holding weapons? Humor at eachother's expense keeps us real, within certain polite bounds.

(Scots-Irish here, with English and Norman French roots as well: I'm a drunken limey bleedin' frog! And I'd wear a kilt if I had one! Rrrrrrrrrr!)
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Pierre.Suave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 09:50 PM
Response to Original message
53. Why are Norwegian jokes ok?
You posted one in this thread.
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Lethe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 10:38 PM
Response to Original message
54. what about the nippon jokes?
those fuckers got a free ride in our concentration camps in the 1940's. Lazy, good for nothing Nips.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
57. None of them are funny if they ridicule people. Some that don't ridicule can be hilarious.
An Irish Catholic priest and a rabbi were discussing what they wanted said after they'd died

The priest: He cared for the poor, and he was a good man to take a sip with now and again

The rabbi: Hey! Wait a minute! The guy is moving his feet!
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elshiva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 11:10 PM
Response to Original message
58. I don't like Irish jokes that much, but I like jokes
Edited on Thu Jul-03-08 11:11 PM by elshiva
that make fun of the English and Scottish people.

On edit: Making fun of snobs is funny. Even though it's a stereotype and not all English folks are snobs.
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smalll Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-03-08 11:14 PM
Response to Original message
59. Because the well-off Irish today are basically honorary WASPs -- the Spring Lake phenomenon, etc.
What with the WASPs dying out over here on the East Coast, the Irish are the new preppies. And if there's one thing we've learned from the "creative class" over the past few decades, it's that WASPs are fair game for ridicule, so the replacement honorary WASPs are too.
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Drum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 01:10 AM
Response to Original message
62. Well what about all the drummer jokes?
And the Irish drummer jokes?

(seriously though, I get your point. :hi:)
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Swede Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 01:53 AM
Response to Original message
63. What about bald jokes,and fat jokesand gay jokes,etc?
There is something funny about the other person,and it's not fair or nice. I think it's about dehumaniziing them.
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RFKHumphreyObama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-04-08 02:30 AM
Response to Original message
64. My dad always tells the story of an Irish friend of his
Who came to his house and started complaining about Irish jokes and how unfair and stereotypical they were and then spent the rest of the night telling Irish jokes
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