Transgressive Jokes and Western Civilization

 

The day that the Challenger blew up, I was sitting in a lounge area adjacent to the cafeteria with some friends when another friend came up.

He said in an obviously joking tone, “Hey, do you know what NASA stands for?”

I bit, “No, what does it stand for?”

“Need Another Seven Astronauts?”

Talk about going from disaster to humor in nothing flat, he had it down to a few hours. These days, I’m sure he would have followed up with, “Too soon?” Of course, that joke had probably been a variant of one from Apollo 1, where it might have been, “Need Another Set of Astronauts,” so the speed came through recycling.

When the subject of the Challenger explosion came up recently, I thought about that moment. If someone today, especially a university student, cracked a tasteless joke like that on the day of a disaster, the authorities would lock him up, clear the building, and provide psychological counseling for all who had been triggered by his obtuseness towards the feelings of the snowflakes around him.

Back at that time, I had a job at the university, and my boss’ boss was a black man with an Irish last name. One day, he announced he had gotten an invitation to attend the World (his surname) Gathering in Ireland.

“Can you see me strutting in there?” he asked while acting out the strut. He imagined he would say, “‘Hi! I’m just here to add a little color to the gathering!’”

Then he looked over at me, “Hey, Charley! You know why white men dress as they do on the golf course?”

“No, Doc, why do they?”

He waved at his outfit, which included bright colors and plaid pants, “So they can dress as cool as black men do every day.”

Can you imagine anyone doing that today? Yes, the target of the humor might be construed as white men, or the target might be seen as black fashion choices.

I grew up with all sorts of transgressive jokes. We learned to laugh. We learned to have humor in horrible situations.

Q. What is Al Qaeda’s favorite football team?

A. The New York Jets.

We were not brittle. Like iron, we were worked hard with a bit of carbon (or manure) thrown our way to make us tough and flexible steel.

Some of that manure thrown our way was in the form of ethnic jokes:

Q. How does a Polack tie his shoe?

A. *The guy puts one foot up on a chair and bends down to tie the shoe on the other foot, which is on the ground.*

Q: How can you tell if a WASP is sexually excited?

A: The stiff upper lip.

Q. How can you tell when a Scotsman is dead?

A. He lets go of his wallet.

We learned to tell dirty jokes without being offended or offensive:

Q. What’s black and white, black and white, black and white, black and white, and green?

A. Four nuns fighting over a pickle.

In many ways, these jokes which would be considered offensive today were the glue that held us together. They were the hammers we were forged with. They were the naughty coals that warmed our hearts. These jokes were the building bricks of a cohesive civilization.

Sure, they could be sick and cruel or even gross:

Q. What’s red and white and hangs from the ceiling?

A. A baby on a meat hook.

Q. What’s green and hangs from the ceiling?

A. Same baby three weeks later.

Or they might make fun of people with disabilities:

Q. What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs when he’s on your porch?

A. Matt.

Q. What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs when he’s in the ocean?

A. Bob.

Hey, did you hear about the hockey game at the leper colony? There was a face off in the corner.

And they certainly made fun of professions:

Q. What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 100?

A. Your Honor.

Q. What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 50

A. Senator.

Q. What’s the difference between an accountant and a lawyer?

A. Accountants know they’re boring.

Q. How do you know you’re talking to an extroverted actuary?

A. He looks at your shoes when he talks.

The only way for us to preserve Western Civilization is to get back to joking without worrying about who might be offended. So, give us your best. Disaster jokes? Go for it! Nun jokes? Dead baby jokes? Mommy, mommy jokes? Leper jokes? Quadruple-amputee jokes? Rude limericks? Bring ’em on.

Just remember that we still have a CoC on Ricochet, so clean up your language, you etaoin shrdlus.

Published in Group Writing
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There are 203 comments.

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  1. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    I was worried you would forget the leper jokes. I don’t know why.

    • #1
    • June 21, 2019, at 9:40 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    What do you call two guys with no arms or legs hanging above your window? Curt ‘n Rod.

    • #2
    • June 21, 2019, at 9:40 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  3. JimGoneWild Coolidge

    Q: Why did the pervert cross the road? 

    A: He was stuck in the chicken. 

    • #3
    • June 21, 2019, at 9:41 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  4. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Have you heard about the Polish airliner that landed in a cemetery? They’ve recovered 600 bodies and they’re still digging.

    • #4
    • June 21, 2019, at 9:42 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  5. MeanDurphy Member

    How did Helen Keller burn her fingers?

    Reading the waffle iron.

    How did she burn her face?

    answering the iron.

    how did she burn the other side?

    they called back.

    how did H.K. break her arm?

    reading road signs.

    Why did her dog run away?

    you would too if your name was [loud moaning noises].

    There’s one more, but it might violate the [CoC].

    • #5
    • June 21, 2019, at 9:45 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    What was Helen Keller’s favorite color?

    Corduroy.

    • #6
    • June 21, 2019, at 9:46 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  7. MeanDurphy Member

    I’d heard the one about the extroverted actuary, but it was an extroverted Norskie.

     

    • #7
    • June 21, 2019, at 9:48 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Percival Thatcher

    Some of the Polack jokes were recycled as regional humor.

    From Ohio: How do you sink a Kentucky riverboat?

    Put it in a river.

    From Georgia: Did you hear about the Baman who bought a new pair of Odor-Eaters?

    He took two steps and he disappeared.

    • #8
    • June 21, 2019, at 9:49 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  9. MeanDurphy Member

    My extroverted uncle Ole used to tell the story about the indian who loved tea so much that he died in his teepee.

    • #9
    • June 21, 2019, at 9:50 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  10. MeanDurphy Member

    My uncle Ole went bowling once and rolled a strike and then sat down and took his shoes off.

    He said “I can’t do any better than that.”

     

    • #10
    • June 21, 2019, at 9:51 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. Roberto, Crusty Old Timer Member

    “Did you know Christina M’s eyes were blue?”

    “It’s true- one blew left and one blew right!”

    We had all of these on the playground as kids, but to be certain we must have gotten them all from overhearing adults. I doubt most elementary school kids are clever enough for such awful puns and what not at that age. 

    • #11
    • June 21, 2019, at 9:51 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  12. WI Con Member

    Q: What’s a Polish bride get on her wedding day that long and hard?

     

    A: New last name

    • #12
    • June 21, 2019, at 9:53 AM PDT
    • 18 likes
  13. MeanDurphy Member

    Here in Colorado we have a special feeling for Texans.

    They usually show up at the slopes by the busload with all the same gear.

    they end up littering the slopes, so you can ski around them, or you can ski them like moguls:

    hit them hard on the top side with your skis, then stab them with your pole. 

    • #13
    • June 21, 2019, at 9:54 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  14. Boss Mongo Member

    Whatta ya call a man with no arms and no legs nailed to the wall?

    Art.

    • #14
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:01 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  15. Arahant Member
    Arahant Post author

    Keep ’em coming. This is definitely brightening my mood.

    • #15
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:02 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. Miffed White Male Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Whatta ya call a man with no arms and no legs nailed to the wall?

    Art.

    In a Pile of leaves?

    Russel.

    Behind a waterski boat?

    Skipper.

    In your mailbox?

    Bill

    In a hole?

    Phil.

    Next to a hole?

    Doug.

     

    • #16
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:03 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  17. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    I forgot:

    Did you know Helen Keller had a pony?

    Neither did she.

    • #17
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:03 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  18. Al French, sad sack Member

    Mommy, mommy! Why am I going around in circles?

    Shut up kid or I’ll nail your other foot to the floor.

     

    • #18
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:05 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  19. Percival Thatcher

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    I forgot:

    Did you know Helen Keller had a pony?

    Neither did she.

    How did Helen Keller burn her fingers?

    She tried to read the waffle iron.

    • #19
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:07 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  20. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    How many Polacks does it take to change a lightbulb?

    76: 1 to hold the bulb, 75 to turn the house.

    How many Irishmen?

    11: 1 to hold the bulb, 10 to drink until the room spins.

    • #20
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:08 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  21. Ed G. Member

    Refrain: I used to work in Chicago in a department store. I used to work in Chicago, I did but I don’t anymore.

    One day a woman came in and asked for some booze; what kind I asked of her. Liqueur she said, so lick ‘er I did and I don’t work there anymore!

    One day a woman came in and asked for some boots; what kind I asked of her. Rubber she said, so rub ‘er I did and I don’t work there anymore!

    One day a woman came in and asked for some jewelry; what kind I asked of her. Choker she said, so choke ‘er I did and I don’t work there anymore!

    One day a woman came in complaining about a price; I said it’s set by corporate and not by me so what would you have me do? Dicker she said, so dick ‘er I did and I don’t work there anymore!

    One day a woman came in and asked for some booze; what kind I asked of her. Dewars she said, so do ‘er I did and I don’t work there anymore!

    One day a woman came in and asked for a fireplace tool; what kind I asked of her. Poker she said, so poke ‘er I did and I don’t work there anymore!

    One day a woman came in and asked for a train ticket; to where I asked of her. Bangor she said, so bang ‘er I did and I don’t work there anymore!

    • #21
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:09 AM PDT
    • 15 likes
  22. Percival Thatcher

    How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Only one, but the lightbulb has to want to change.

    • #22
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:10 AM PDT
    • 18 likes
  23. Poindexter Member

    How do you….

    Oops, can’t tell that one.

    • #23
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:10 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. Bob W Member

     “Can Johnny come and play baseball?”

    Mom, “you know that Johnny dosen’t have any arms or legs”

    “We know, we need a second base” 

     

    • #24
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:12 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  25. Ed G. Member

    Who’s that knocking at my door? Who’s that knocking at my door? Who’s that knocking at my door? Said the fair young maiden.

    Open the door you ……. on second thought I don’t think the CoC would allow any of the Barnacle Bill The Sailor responses in this song.

    • #25
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:16 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  26. Poindexter Member

    Two kids died of hypothermia in their car at a drive-in movie theater. They went to a movie called “Closed for the Winter”. 

    • #26
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:16 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  27. Michael Brehm Member

    Does anybody know how you can tell the difference between an epileptic corn-husker and a prostitute with cholera?

    • #27
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:17 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Judge Mental Member

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Whatta ya call a man with no arms and no legs nailed to the wall?

    Art.

    In a Pile of leaves?

    Russel.

    Behind a waterski boat?

    Skipper.

    In your mailbox?

    Bill

    In a hole?

    Phil.

    Next to a hole?

    Doug.

     

    What do you call a dog with no legs?

    It doesn’t matter, he’s not going to come anyway.

    • #28
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:17 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  29. Judge Mental Member

    What do elephants use for tampons?

    Sheep.

    • #29
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:17 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  30. Bob W Member

    A man stops to watch two Polacks by a flag pole. One starts to climb the pole while holding the end of a tape measure. He gets about halfway up and slides back down. The other trys with the same results.

    The man asks, what are you trying to do?

    One Polack says there boss wants a new rope for the flagpole and they are trying to measure the height .

    The man suggests that they take the pole and lay it down and measure it that way.

    The Polacks answer that we want the height not the width.

    • #30
    • June 21, 2019, at 10:22 AM PDT
    • 15 likes
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