Liberal Arts Blog — Sunday is the Joy of Humor, Food, Travel, Practical Life Tips, and Miscellaneous Day
Today’s Topic — Frugality, Ethnic Stereotypes, Intolerance
Humor is a touchy subject these days. Many comedians (eg. Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld) stopped visiting college campuses years ago for fear of campus Savanarolas and Torquemadas. The limits of acceptability seem to be narrowing by the day. Well, sorry, I can’t resist entering the fray. Today, the issue is frugality. Once considered a virtue, it is now not particularly celebrated anywhere on the political spectrum. But there are some ethnic groups that have long viewed this trait as part of what makes them special and have celebrated it in their humor. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE DUTCH — “Never has a people traded so much but spent so little.”
1. I picked this one up on my first, and so far only, trip to the Netherlands.
2. Related to their frugality is their hard work and ingenuity. This is reflected in the next quip.
3. “God made the earth but the Dutch made Holland.”
THE SCOTSMAN — “How was copper wire invented?”
1. Answer: “Two Scotsmen fighting over a penny.”
2. Why are so many Scottish churches circular? So no one can hide in the corner during collections.
3. How did the Grand Canyon get dug? A Scotsman accidentally dropped a penny down a gopher hole.
THE ARMENIAN — Fill in the blank (first heard this one from an Armenian)
1. “An Armenian can buy from a Dutchman and sell to a Scot and still make money.”
2. Generic form: “x” nationality can buy from “y” and sell to “z.”
3. When “x,” “y,” or “z” is Jewish, the joke becomes more controversial for obvious reasons. But no ethnic group is prouder of both their humor and their frugality.
NB: Does my Jewish DNA permit me to joke about it? Is someone not so privileged so to speak not so empowered? In the name of what? How does the balancing of principles come out? Who decides? How?
So what’s the funniest clip you have seen recently? Or ever? Favorite joke? When did you laugh the hardest and why? Anything miscellaneous to share from anywhere? Best trip you ever took in your life? Favorite foods? Practical life tips? Random facts?
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your mind a memory that might otherwise disappear. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.