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  #1  
Old 12-13-2018, 07:00 AM
mrka mrka is offline
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Polish Jokes.

When I was a boy, books with Polish jokes would
appear regularly at the corner store. Perhaps once a week or a couple times every month. I remember a profusion of jokes so a new booklet appeared every week in my mind.
When I was a boy, racial or ethnic jokes were smugly racist.
But you could use all the alphabetically descriptive words such as N, W, C, P, J and so on in the open right in the streets. For example, by shouting Polaque at somebody. And you would get away with it.
I felt hurt by the Polish Jokes.
It was an excruciating pain.
I am Polish, Catholic and I have Jewish roots on my father's side of the family.
I have read about Polish Joke, the play by Ives.
And I am appalled.
Can a crypto Pole write Polish jokes?
I consider the thought to be unfunny.
Some right-wing Poles call my family a gathering of crypto Jews.
And Jewish pure bloods find me comic on the face of my mixed blood.
Where do I stand?
Polish jokes are about reincarnation since a cat advances by embodying any human regardless he or she is a classless one.
Reincarnation is at the opposite pole, so to speak, from Christianity.
A Pole is on the ladder toward higher consciousness.
Am I tripped up?
What are self-styled Polish jokes except a demeaning guilt trip?
Right?
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  #2  
Old 12-13-2018, 07:59 AM
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Did you really mean to post this in the Thread Games forum?

When I was a kid (1970's USA), Polish jokes were fairly popular, but they were just "dumb person" jokes with "Polack" as the term for the dumb guy. For quite awhile, I didn't even realize that "Polack" meant a person from Poland; I just thought it was a word for a stupid person.

Nowadays I'm a little ashamed that enjoyed and spread such jokes, but I did so because I thought they were funny, not because I believed that Polish people were really inferior in intelligence or had any animosity toward them.

"Person X is so dumb..." jokes have always been popular (do people still tell "blonde jokes"?), but today I think most of us realize that it's Not Cool to make fun of a particular racial, ethnic, geographic, etc. group.
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Old 12-13-2018, 09:24 AM
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I remember MAD magazine had "American Jokes They're Telling in Poland."

It's probably encyclopedia-sized by now.
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:44 AM
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Polish jokes are about reincarnation since a cat advances by embodying any human regardless he or she is a classless one.
I guess that's one way of looking at it.

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Shodan
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:48 AM
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Moving from Thread Games to IMHO.

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Old 12-13-2018, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
When I was a kid (1970's USA), Polish jokes were fairly popular, but they were just "dumb person" jokes with "Polack" as the term for the dumb guy. For quite awhile, I didn't even realize that "Polack" meant a person from Poland; I just thought it was a word for a stupid person.
Same here -- I probably was 11 or 12 when I finally realized that "Polack" = "Polish person."

I grew up in Green Bay, where Polish jokes were interchangeable with Belgian jokes, due to having a lot of residents of Belgian descent there.

In the late 1980s / early 1990s, blonde jokes were a thing for a while, but those, too, seem to have faded into obscurity.

I haven't heard an ethnic joke in decades, though I'm not sure if that's a function of society finally realizing that they're demeaning, me no longer being 12, or me hanging out with people who are at least a smidge more enlightened these days.
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Old 12-13-2018, 12:00 PM
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When I was young - in Chicago, 60s, last name ending in "ski" - no one knew more Polack jokes than me. But everyone told them. And no one got too upset about them. Seem to recall there were a fair share of Italian jokes as well - plus jokes targetting Jews, blacks, Mexicans, gays, and just about any other group that could be made fun of. I think one reason was simply because so many people in my neighborhood were of Polish or Italian background.

I remember my dad saying when he was young (Chicago in the 20s-30s) Bohemians were the most common target of jokes. And I recall hearing that Swedes/Norse/Finns make jokes about each other.

Weird OP, tho.
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Old 12-13-2018, 12:18 PM
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This reminds me of a moment from Albert Brooks' film, "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World".

He's on the street in India, with an assistant to translate, trying to find out what people there think is funny. At one point a man asks him for a joke and Brooks tells this one in his typical scattered and wandering delivery:

A Polish guy goes to the eye doctor. The doc asks if he can read line 5, which is C, G, D, F, Z, K.

"The Polish guy says, 'Read it? I KNOW that guy!'"


The Indian man chuckles politely and Brooks' assistant asks, "What should I write down?"

Brooks replies, "Put down Polish jokes work everywhere."

Last edited by Llama Llogophile; 12-13-2018 at 12:19 PM.
  #9  
Old 12-13-2018, 12:40 PM
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In Minnesota, Polish jokes become Finlander jokes. Same jokes, different people.
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Old 12-13-2018, 12:55 PM
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I remember my dad saying when he was young (Chicago in the 20s-30s) Bohemians were the most common target of jokes. And I recall hearing that Swedes/Norse/Finns make jokes about each other.
At one time in the upper-midwest, 'Dumb Swede' jokes enjoyed a measure of popularity. I don't know if they still do, but I've heard at least a couple in my life.
  #11  
Old 12-13-2018, 01:11 PM
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Weird OP, tho.

You are obviously not familiar with mrka's collected œuvre.
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Old 12-13-2018, 01:30 PM
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Many years ago, I remember a time-sharing program where you entered the ethnic group to make fun of, and the group that you belonged to, and the system would print out 100 jokes on the teletype (yes, that long ago).

I was once reprimanded for 'wasting this expensive educational technology' on trivia like that. But then I pointed out that you could enter 'principal' and 'teacher' and generate 100 jokes about dumb principals. The instructor forgot about reprimanding me, and took that printout and headed for the teacher's lounge.

Mostly the same jokes, just substituted for the target group. I imagine the Cro-Magnons told jokes about the dumb Neanderthals.
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Old 12-13-2018, 01:51 PM
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Tim@T-Bonham.net:

Quote:
I imagine the Cro-Magnons told jokes about the dumb Neanderthals.
I doubt it - light bulbs hadn't been invented yet.
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Old 12-13-2018, 02:28 PM
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In areas with strong inter-collegiate rivalries, students and alumni of rival schools are sometimes plugged into the [Dumb X] slot in place of ethnic groups. The University of Texas and Texas A&M schools were known for this, with "Aggie" and "Teasipper" plugged into the jokes. A&M usually took the brunt of it, filling both "rural rube" and "general idiot" roles, while UoT generally got the "clueless/effete city fool" role. I've seen books of Aggie jokes, but never one specifically of Teasipper jokes (though I've never checked the A&M bookstore).

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I doubt it - light bulbs hadn't been invented yet.
"How many Neanderthals does it take to make a fire?"
"Only one--but you have to dry him out real good first."

It's not only the target group that can be substituted.
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Old 12-13-2018, 03:28 PM
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Polish jokes are about reincarnation since a cat advances by embodying any human regardless he or she is a classless one.
Huh. To me, reusable styrene pellets signify higher-order concepts because when kelp grows quickly through civilization you find anew and immediate pleasures.
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Old 12-13-2018, 03:36 PM
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We rednecks love to make fun of each other.
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Old 12-13-2018, 03:48 PM
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I haven't heard an ethnic joke in decades, though I'm not sure if that's a function of society finally realizing that they're demeaning, me no longer being 12, or me hanging out with people who are at least a smidge more enlightened these days.
A lot of it is due to Polish jokes just being played out. Like mother-in-law jokes (which were over 60 years ago), they were done so many times and so many ways that creative exhaustion set in. Also, most of the humor of Polish jokes stemmed from the fact they were largely immigrants from an "exotic" land whose difficulty in adjusting to American culture could be inaccurately and unfairly seen as stupidity. Now that Polish immigrants have been culturally assimilated for several generations, the "dumb foreigner" stereotype no longer applies.
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Old 12-13-2018, 04:04 PM
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I guess nobody walks into a bar anymore?
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Old 12-13-2018, 04:59 PM
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Two tuba players walk past a bar...

Well, it could happen!
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Old 12-13-2018, 05:06 PM
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I grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee on a dead end street with 10 houses. We were the only family who's name didn't end in -ski.
In my old grade school yearbooks it seemed like names ending with -ski was about 50%.
I remember going to Summerfest in the 80s to see Emo Phillips perform in the comedy tent. Because it was a tent their were huge tent poles in the middle of the floor and one which was dead center in front of the stage. Emo didn't miss a beat and started his performance with "I heard there were a lot of Poles in Milwaukee but this is ridiculous!"
  #21  
Old 12-13-2018, 05:09 PM
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I remember my dad saying when he was young (Chicago in the 20s-30s) Bohemians were the most common target of jokes.
My father also grew up in Chicago at that time and said the same thing.

He pointed out that "bohunks" (or "bohoes") were any white person whose last name had more vowels than consonants - that type of humor not being particular about Czechs, Poles, Russians, Romanians, Hungarians, etc.
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Old 12-13-2018, 05:15 PM
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I never found much humor in Polish jokes - and the ones told in Poland aren't any better.

"The mice are having a party. The English mouse retires early, saying: “I'll finish my whisky and call it a night.” The French mouse says: “I'll just have a cognac and take my mousetress to bed.” The German mouse downs his beer and says: “Now I must have a meeting with my neighborhood rodent association." But the Polish mouse proclaims: “I will have a vodka and then I'll have another vodka and then another vodka and then BRING ON THE CAT!”

http://nytimes.com/1976/08/08/archiv...ut-russia.html

*Had to fill in an inexplicable gap in the joke. Feel free to substitute your own interpretation of who the German mouse would be meeting with.
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:53 PM
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I guess nobody walks into a bar anymore?
A Priest, a Minister and a Rabbi walk into a bar. The bartender takes one look at them and says

"We don't server cliches here."
  #24  
Old 12-13-2018, 08:09 PM
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My mother's family's Polish/Slovak, and we've told each other Polish jokes forever, called each other Polacks and Hunkys, etc. Lighten up!
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:13 PM
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Alternative endings for god-fearing patrons joke:

"Is this kind of a joke?"
"You some kind of a comedians?" (for Italian bar)
"We don't serve your types. This is lesbian atheist bar!"

Aaaand one made up from the spot:

"Where is the Polack guy? Did he hit something?"

Last edited by yo han go; 12-13-2018 at 08:14 PM.
  #26  
Old 12-13-2018, 08:41 PM
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I knew an older guy who worked for another agency and he had a self appointed nickname of Polack.

I first met him in the early 80's. There was a sizeable amount of people with Polish ancestry working in law enforcement at the time. I didn't know of any of them that took offense at it if it was used as a term of endearment.

When he got closer to retirement his hearing dipped and he would sometimes not catch his number being called out over the radio. After a few attempts the dispatcher would finally call out "base to Polack" and he'd catch it. Not once did anyone listening on a scanner call in and complain.

And he always greeted you with a polish joke: "Hi, Gerome, how are you doing?"

Kowalski: "Polack airlines flight 13 came to a screeching halt at Warsaw International Airport. The Captain said it was the shortest runway he ever landed on. The co-pilot agreed and was incredulous as to how wide it was."

He retired in the early 90's and died in 1998.

Last edited by pkbites; 12-13-2018 at 08:45 PM.
  #27  
Old 12-13-2018, 09:03 PM
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I think it is kind of tasteless to be telling Polish jokes now, what with the Polish Air Force fighter jet crashing in that cemetary. So far 873 bodies have been recovered.
  #28  
Old 12-13-2018, 09:19 PM
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We rednecks love to make fun of each other.
"If you tell the female nurse and doctor who are presently treating you that you are picturing them nekkid,...yooouuuu might be a redneck." -J. Foxworthy
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Old 12-13-2018, 10:05 PM
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My father also grew up in Chicago at that time and said the same thing.

He pointed out that "bohunks" (or "bohoes") were any white person whose last name had more vowels than consonants - that type of humor not being particular about Czechs, Poles, Russians, Romanians, Hungarians, etc.
Shouldn’t that be “more consonants than vowels”? I mean, given the existence of Bohemian names like “Grbac”.

FWIW, I learned the word “bohunk” from my mother’s family. Who ultimately came from Ceske Budejovice.

Re to the word “Polack” - in the 17th century it was a neutral demonyn for “person from Poland”. Shakespeare used it as such in “Hamlet”:

Upon our first, he set out to suppress
His nephew’s levies, which to him appeared
To be a preparation ‘gainst the Polack.
Hamlet, II.ii
  #30  
Old 12-13-2018, 10:23 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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My mother's family's Polish/Slovak, and we've told each other Polish jokes forever, called each other Polacks and Hunkys, etc. Lighten up!
My folks are both Polish-born-and-raised, and I grew up with my dad telling me the bulk of the Polish jokes I know. It's a matter of know your audience and context. If somebody I don't know approaches me and tells me a Polish joke, that may not come across well. If we're friends or acquaintances that rib each other about our ethnicities (like Irish vs Polish), then that's fine. I don't have an issue with the word "Polack" so much, but it depends on who is saying it and how they're saying it. (It is the Polish word for "Polish person", polak.) For the most part, with people in my neighborhood, we razzed each other on our ethnicities, so it wasn't a big deal. We all gave each other shit. Shit like, "What's stupider than a Polack building a house underwater? A Mexican trying to burn it down." Just non-sensical crap like that. But, outside this context, if I come across a Polish joke now -- it's odd.

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-13-2018 at 10:25 PM.
  #31  
Old 12-13-2018, 10:42 PM
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As a (much) younger person, I knew many of them and would tell them. The one about the guy who won a gold medal in the Olympics. He was so proud he had it bronzed. The guy who left in the middle of the play because the program said: "Act Two-Two weeks later", etc. Only once did anybody take offense, so I apologized and started repeating the joke....at a slower speed.

Racial/ethnic jokes were a staple in my crowd to, but the couldn't be too biting. You knew where the line was.

I occasionally get together with a group of guys that I knew from Junior High school. These typically occur at a centrally located bar/eatery. Three of us arrived at the same time. Me, a white guy. And the other two being black and Puerto Rican.
As we walked into the bar, I was suddenly struck by the fact that we were a joke and shared this observation to much amusement.
  #32  
Old 12-13-2018, 11:02 PM
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If you're contemplating suicide, a good way to go is to drink polish.

It's a very painful death, but it gives you a great finish.
  #33  
Old 12-14-2018, 01:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Did you really mean to post this in the Thread Games forum?
Man, some jokes just write themselves.

Quote:
... but today I think most of us realize that it's Not Cool to make fun of a particular racial, ethnic, geographic, etc. group.
While I agree I find it interesting that, on this board and in our country at large, comedians are often given a pass on this type of humor. I guess because they are professionals?
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Old 12-14-2018, 07:19 AM
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Polish jokes were originally promulgated by immigrant groups who had come here a generation or two earlier (Irish, Italian, etc.), to make fun of the 'dumb' immigrants who were less knowledgeable of American ways. They morphed into a codeword for any joke about a person being dumb or unsophisticated. Today, that person is more likely to be from West Virginia.

Mad magazine once showed a sign on a building in DC: "Polish Embassy, Joke Department".

Also, an entry in a "Believe It Or Not" parody: "'2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = infinity' Submitted by Prof. Ignatz Wojekowski, University of Poland".


Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
A Priest, a Minister and a Rabbi walk into a bar. The bartender takes one look at them and says

"We don't server cliches here."
Another punchline: "The bartender asks, "What is this, a joke?"
  #35  
Old 12-14-2018, 09:17 AM
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I am relieved of a lot of anxiety and depression after reading the posts about the Polaque jokes being transmutable.
However the point is people get targeted and abused.
After all, it isn't much of a relief to know that you can simply slither from one ethnicity or race to the next by using the same dumb person jokes.
What really hurts is some of these jokes point to the fact a lot of Poles are not so much as dumb as they're ignorant and stubborn. They call it defense of their culture.
Poland today is an abyss.
It's deeply unfeeling and ignorant as seen in the example of this country and Hungary forcing the EU to withdraw the reference to the LGBTIQ community in a recent piece of legislation.
Worse yet, listening to Polish speakers on YouTube makes your heart sink, stomach churn because you just wonder where they get their intelligence from?
You wonder about their IQ score. Seriously.
It's a tragic situation.
Poland is completely isolated and protectionist to the detriment of dialogue.
At best, Poles ape, mimick and parrot foreigners. Poles don't learn nor enrich others through shared experiences.
They are easy prey for Anti-Polonists and polonophobia is on the rise in a place like Germany.
I don't believe that changing the target of a dumb racist joke makes the teller less abusive and evil.
Why not just target the vulnerable LGBTQ people with the same old dumb jokes? Polish people try to shift the unwanted attention to homosexuals.
It would be wrong to as anyone normal realizes. The Poles have weakened themselves by giving into absurd regressive attitudes politically and culturally. Religiously too.
There's nothing more funny than a man that's fallen on the ground. Or is there?
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:26 AM
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Shouldn’t that be “more consonants than vowels”? I mean, given the existence of Bohemian names like “Grbac”.
Can't find the original article anymore, but here's a re-write:

Clinton Deploys Vowels to Bosnia
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:39 AM
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In most circumstances they are hurtful but there are those rare cases like cousin Walter the Polack ------ hey, you marry into a family that is half Irish and half Siberian and you have to expect a nickname like that. He understands it as a sign of love because he knows us and our affection for him; he even plays along. Like telling us about the one summer when he was young and everyone kept calling him a dumb Polack; it wouldn't have bothered him but he was visiting relatives in Krakow at the time. Once when he complained (not for real but just as a way of playing along) we went back to another old joke and started more along the line of "There were these two Hittites named Stash and Joe". For us its a hug and that is how he feels it so I would call it no harm or foul in this usage.
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:06 AM
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Data point: when I was a wee lad in Wisconsin, Polak jokes were the norm. But they weren't harmless.

I believed (in like first - third grade range) that "Polaks" were in fact stupider than the rest of us. The -ski contingent were much smaller than the German contingent in my class. Germans were the top, the rest of us were below, and the Poles at the bottom. Plus, (at that time) all the Polish kids were on the lower side of average in class performance. So I believed it to be true.

Who know how mean I may have come across to them.
  #39  
Old 12-14-2018, 10:19 AM
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Why not just target the vulnerable LGBTQ people with the same old dumb jokes?
This isn't about targeting vulnerable people in protected classes. If Poland is in a sorry state today it certainly isn't due to the fact that people tell polish jokes.
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:47 AM
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Different times, different values and sensibilities. Anyone remember the bestselling "Truly Tasteless Jokes" during the 1980's? It actually spawned a whole series of books under that name filled with what was referred to back then as "off color humor"

I believe they had entire chapters devoted to Polack jokes

Last edited by Cardigan; 12-14-2018 at 10:49 AM.
  #41  
Old 12-14-2018, 11:30 AM
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Remember it? Hell, I owned a copy.

I'm also half-Polish. (My mother is 120% Polish ... if you know any Polish women, you'll understand that the math adds up.) I laughed my ass off at a couple of the Polack jokes told upthread.

Living in Texas, I can confirm the Aggie jokes are popular, as are "people from Oklahoma" variants.

Having light colored hair, I am quite familiar with dumb blonde jokes - a couple of them are truly hysterical - so I guess I hit a trifecta of target groups. You're right that it's knowing your audience and reading the room. If we cool, you'll have me rolling with laughter. But we gotta be cool ...


(- Why do brunettes tell blonde jokes?
- Nuthin' else to do on a Saturday night.)
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:32 AM
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I am relieved of a lot of anxiety and depression after reading the posts about the Polaque jokes being transmutable.
This mis-characterizes the situation. It’s not like all jokes that make fun of other groups start off as polaque jokes and are then transmuted. From the part of the country I grew up hearing lots of derogatory and racist jokes none of which were polish and none which would be transferable to polish people.



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There's nothing more funny than a man that's fallen on the ground. Or is there?
A child?
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
Living in Texas, I can confirm the Aggie jokes are popular...
As a native Texan I heard a lot of these too but I don’t think these really belong in this group. Aggies are no different in any way than any other Texan. They just chose a different school to attend. They are not targeting their race, color, religion, sexual preference etc.
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Old 12-14-2018, 12:01 PM
EscAlaMike EscAlaMike is offline
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Originally Posted by Balance View Post
In areas with strong inter-collegiate rivalries, students and alumni of rival schools are sometimes plugged into the [Dumb X] slot in place of ethnic groups. The University of Texas and Texas A&M schools were known for this, with "Aggie" and "Teasipper" plugged into the jokes.
Yup. I grew up in Florida where we told Florida-Florida State jokes. Where I live now, it's Alabama-Auburn jokes.

"If you have more A's on your pickup truck than you ever got in school, you might be an Alabama fan."

Incidentally my Dad grew up in Chicago in the 50s and 60s and always told us kids about the ethnic-based ribbing that went on in his neighborhood. He definitely knows and has told his share of Polack jokes.
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Old 12-14-2018, 01:37 PM
Balance Balance is offline
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Originally Posted by Lucas Jackson View Post
As a native Texan I heard a lot of these too but I don’t think these really belong in this group. Aggies are no different in any way than any other Texan. They just chose a different school to attend. They are not targeting their race, color, religion, sexual preference etc.
That was sort of the point. This type of joke generally has little, if anything, to do with actual characteristics of the target group. It just targets a member of an outgroup and makes an absurdly exaggerated statement about them. The absurdity of the exaggeration is the mechanism for triggering surprise, and making the absurdity about an outgroup makes the surprise non-threatening to members of the ingroup. Non-threatening surprise is a common element in humor.

What has changed is the "non-threatening" part. Our society has at least begun to recognize that targeting outgroups for verbal abuse isn't actually harmless. It's a cultural corrosive. That change in attitude is why the jokes are increasingly regarded as offensive, rather than funny.
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Old 12-14-2018, 03:25 PM
Urbanredneck Urbanredneck is offline
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"If you tell the female nurse and doctor who are presently treating you that you are picturing them nekkid,...yooouuuu might be a redneck." -J. Foxworthy
If only liberals could make fun of each other.
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Old 12-14-2018, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Lucas Jackson View Post
As a native Texan I heard a lot of these too but I don’t think these really belong in this group. Aggies are no different in any way than any other Texan. They just chose a different school to attend. They are not targeting their race, color, religion, sexual preference etc.
Cripes. Black people are different in some way than White people?

When I first came to this board I was constantly amazed by the implicit racism of the non-racist commentary. It still shakes me up sometimes.
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Old 12-14-2018, 03:28 PM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
My father also grew up in Chicago at that time and said the same thing.

He pointed out that "bohunks" (or "bohoes") were any white person whose last name had more vowels than consonants - that type of humor not being particular about Czechs, Poles, Russians, Romanians, Hungarians, etc.
Yeah - that should be more consonants. My last name ends in "ski". My wife's dad is proudly 100% bohunk. I remember at our wedding, my best man's speech said something like, "For chrissakes, buy a vowel, guys!"

My youngest daughter "10-letters ski" is engaged to a "9-letters sky." I told them they've GOTTA hyphenate!

One of my sisters married a guy from downstate IL, and they moved to St Louis. At some point she commented that her husband's family just couldn't get over the names of folk from up in Chicago. In Chicago, everyone was Polish, or Italian, or German, or whatever. Further down state everyone had Anglo names like Anderson, Smith, Harper...
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Old 12-14-2018, 03:30 PM
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Last edited by Shodan; 12-14-2018 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 12-14-2018, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Lucas Jackson View Post
As a native Texan I heard a lot of these too but I don’t think these really belong in this group. Aggies are no different in any way than any other Texan. They just chose a different school to attend. They are not targeting their race, color, religion, sexual preference etc.
"Longhorn and Aggie" jokes aren't even that original. Here in Washington State, there are "Husky and Cougar" jokes. In Oregon, there are "Duck and Beaver" jokes. Every state that has an urban-based university and a rural-based university has these.
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