I stepped out for a bit and when I came back John McCain was telling an Irish joke. He prefaced it by saying, ‘The only ethnic jokes that are allowed are Irish jokes. I don’t know why, but that’s how it is.’ (Paraphrased.) He then went on to praise the contributions to America from people of Irish descent.
OK, I tell Irish jokes. I don’t mean anything by them; just poking fun at stereotypes. So why don’t I tell Black jokes? If other ethnic jokes are ‘wrong’, why do I poke fun at the Irish? It’s very hypocritical.
Be that as it may, do you think it’s appropriate for any Presidential candidate to tell any ethnic jokes at all?
On the question of appropriateness – I’d generally prefer our politicians not to tell ethnic jokes, but it looks like this one was told to an Irish-American group, and those in attendance took it in good fun. (I can’t watch the video at work, but this citemakes it sound pretty innocuous.)
There was a minor dust up in the 80’s when Reagan told an Irish joke into a live mic. People seemed, IIRC, to put that in the “folksy charm” column. That’s probably where McCain’s jokes will go, too, as long as he sticks to Irish jokes. I don’t know why Irish jokes are more acceptable than, say, Polish jokes. Again, I don’t think it’s good form to tell them, but when the Irish-American group is laughing along with you, I guess there’s not much harm.
I’m not into ethnic jokes at all, or their recent revival, but if everybody’s in on the joke I don’t see a problem. If anything, even though politicians usually aren’t that funny, I think they should probably tell more jokes. It beats having them pretend that the fate of the nation, if not the world, hangs in the balance in every single election.
The statement that the Irish are the last group you can make fun of is a total canard, as evidenced by the fact that the same thing gets said about fat people and white trash, among other groups. I know McCain’s reference to them being the last ethnic group makes it a little more specific, but it’s still ridiculous. McCain’s got Irish heritage, so he can tell Irish jokes; by the same logic many Jewish comedians do Jewish jokes.
So the son of a rich WASP ex-president, a multi-millionaire Irishman, and a black guy from a single-parent family go into a bar. The bartender turns to the black guy and says “Sorry, we don’t serve elitists here”.
I’m a big fan of humor that pokes fun at stereotypes (if it’s actually funny, too). If a candidate told what I felt was a funny ethnic joke, I’d personally be OK with that.
Of course, there’s a line, and the problem is everybody has their line in different places. For example, there was a recent pit thread about a a button with a very lame racial joke, which I and some others saw as simply a harmless joke that mentions race, without putting down any particular race, or even playing off a stereotype. Others vehemently disagreed, and the OP went so far as to refer to it as “racist hatred” in title IIRC.
It’s OK to tell Irish jokes, because McCain is Irish, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, no one believes Irish jokes, and no one in the US discriminates against the Irish now - they did in the 19th century, but now it’s, if anything, an advantage to be Irish. Most bigotry is toward the poor of the ethnic group in any case - money ameliorates an amazing degree of whatever quality your ethnicity is supposed to carry with it.