January 29, 2009

Bush the Elder tells a sexist joke of the sort that has been banished from polite speech for decades.

And then Bill Clinton whines about the fact that he's not allowed to make jokes like that. Apparently, he would love to.

(Via Instapundit.)

84 comments:

traditionalguy said...

"No problem lady" was witty, so is all wit NOW offensive to the highly favored victim class known as feminists? I say that after living with Barbara Bush 50 years, he gets to tell a few like this as a well earned consolation prize. I love that guy.

rhhardin said...

I don't get why it's sexist.

Franco said...

The thing that bothers me about this is the insouciant elitism of these men.

They go around giving speeches while the world falls apart and our economic system collapses and they have their own vaudeville routine.

Have you noticed how so many Hollywood celebrities want to be in politics, and the politicians all want to be in show biz?

Get the hook!

rhhardin said...

cont.

And Clinton wasn't whining. He was making another joke, mostly at his own expense.

ricpic said...

I second rh.

You're rapidly turning sexist into a cry wolf term, professor.

peter hoh said...

Bush the Elder's ability to "get away with it" is explained by the quote from Chinatown, in which Noah Cross (John Huston) utters these memorable lines: 'Course I'm respectable. I'm old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.

I'm not sure that Clinton will ever get to that point, no matter how much he ages.

MadisonMan said...

I think the joke would have worked better if the woman was just angry, not ugly and angry. Anyway, who can be angry and beautiful at the same time? But I chuckled. Is one sexist if one chuckles at a joke someone else calls sexist?

Bill Clinton wasn't whining.

Pogo said...

Both jokes are pretty good, because GHWBush really really didn't want any part of the angry woman's womb, no-way-no-how, and Clinton knows we know he'd actually consider it, and that he thinks it's her loss.

And yes, Bill would love to tell the many many sexist jokes he knows and doubtless has shared with FOBs.

George is Hugh Beaumont.
Bill is Sinatra.

Franco said...

Clinton the classic narcissist wants it all. He wants to philander AND he wants to be able to joke about it!

EDH said...

ph,

I suppose if those "ugly buildings" you mentioned are named after "politicians" then the litany you quote is completely redundant.

kynefski said...

The joke would have worked if he had just said "...one of the angriest women... I have no problem with his lampooning his political opponents as undesirable. But that ugliest really got my nerve, harkening back to when those who wanted to keep women in their place kept trying to convince their daughters that feminists were not at all feminine.

Simon said...

I'm with MM. Funny lines by both - Clinton targeting himself, Bush targeting no one identifiable. There was more offensive, less funny stuff directed with more venom at named individuals every episode of The Daily Show for the last eight years.

EDH said...

Anyway, who can be angry and beautiful at the same time?

Or open a pickle jar for that matter.

Original George said...

"Her mother was known for her witty derision—she referred to Lyndon Johnson and his wife as “Colonel Cornpone and his little pork chop”—and Caroline Kennedy is also funny."

From The New Yorker profile.

bearbee said...

What was the joke? He related an incident.

John Althouse Cohen said...

I don't get why it's sexist.

Because it's playing on the apparent clash between 2 premises: (1) feminists are ugly; (2) feminists are too concerned with protecting women's bodies. It's similar to a joke I once heard by a stand-up comedian, referring to a famous older woman who had brought a sexual assault charge against a man -- the joke was: "Hey, her sexual assault days are long gone." The implication being women should be GLAD, not complaining, if they're violated. And it also contains an unspoken threat to women: "watch yourself before you complain about your body being violated, because we'll just ridicule you if we don't think you're attractive." Finally, the fact that the joke is delivered by an old/rich/famous/powerful man just heightens the power dynamics inherent in the joke, which is that the swaggering man (who we're supposed to identify with) puts the whining feminist (who we're supposed to look down on) in her place.

Also: if you don't see why the joke is sexist, I bet you're pro-life.

Pogo said...

"...a sexist joke of the sort that has been banished from polite speech for decades."

I expect a lot more of this in the near future, along with a resurgence of the very, very unPC.

Depressions can have a rather uncivilizing effect.

carly said...

Sexist? Nope. Not unless you're one of those hypersensitive PC whipped fools who lacks anything close to a sense of humor. That joke was funny! I found it funny, not "offensive"--and I'm woman, though neither ugly nor angry. What am I missing? Who's hurt by this?

Billy Clinton couldn't tell a joke like that because he wouldn't be honest if he did. That dude wouldn't let ugliness/anger get between him and a "womb". If he tried a joke like this, people would squirm, not laugh.

And Billy wasn't whining, he was doing schtick--comedy that WAS true to himself; which was also funny.

I miss having a POTUS who can laugh at himself....

Spread Eagle said...

if you don't see why the joke is sexist, I bet you're pro-life.

And I suppose if you DO believe it to be sexist, you're anti-life.

MadisonMan said...

I see why it's sexist, maybe, but I don't see why it's therefore not amusing. (I know the Professor didn't out-and-out state that it's not amusing. I think it is.) I think people who find it sexist and therefore it can't be amusing are a little too tightly strung for their own good.

I'll repeat what I said, and what kynefski echoed: It would work much better without the ugly.

Patm said...

I don't think it's sexist to say that an unattractive, obnoxious, in-your-face woman needn't worry about her womb being invaded.

It sounds refreshingly honest.

But of course Clinton makes it about himself; he can't help that.

But I thought both presidents were funny.

carly said...

JAC: ...if you don't see why the joke is sexist, I bet you're pro-life.

You weren't talking to me but I am NOT pro-life; am actually a dedicated liberal on all social issues.

And while I "get" why some would consider this joke "sexist" (thanks for the explanation, though), having recently spent 4 years at a seriously leftist Ivy University, I don't accept the reasoning, condemn the hypersensitivity and pity people who go through life looking for "offensive" words instead of laughing at things that are FUNNY.

Nichevo said...

I don't even think "ugly" is irrelevant. Look at Helen Thomas.

If you can.

MayBee said...

Also: if you don't see why the joke is sexist, I bet you're pro-life.

I'm pro-choice. I don't think the joke is sexist. There are ugly women out there, that's just true. Do we have to pretend all women are beautiful now?
Do we have to pretend she was desirable, and the only reason Bush wouldn't want to do her is because she was angry?

"Keep your hands off my womb" is stupid thing to say. Why not make it an ugly woman saying something so stupid? Making her beautiful and stupid would be a stereotype- sexist, even.

fivewheels said...

Not every joke that is at the expense of a woman is sexist. The conflation of the two is a feminist rhetorical technique, usually employed in a parallel way to assert that any argument against a woman is an attack on all women (e.g. disagreeing with Hillary Clinton on an issue = hating or being afraid of "strong women").

Bush's joke is borderline at worst. It references a stereotype without asserting it: He is talking about one woman, not asserting anything about any group of women. That's why it feels OK to most people.

fivewheels said...

For the record, I'm for legal abortion and didn't think the joke was funny or sexist.

But to claim that the problem is that people think feminists are "too concerned with protecting women's bodies" is question-begging of the cheapest sort. Isn't it terrible that people have the audacity to disagree with you even when you're so goddamned wonderful and heroic, if you do say so yourself?

fivewheels said...

Perhaps it would be better put to say that the joke is mean, but not sexist.

Deana said...

I can't believe people are actually upset with this!

Bush is hilarious - we ALL know EXACTLY what kind of woman he is talking about. And Clinton is poking fun at himself.

I'm a woman and I'm just over all these women being overly sensitive. If we can tell funny jokes about men, then we can tell funny jokes about women.

Paul said...

rhhardin said...

I don't get why it's sexist.


As best I can make out, rhardin, "sexist" is code for "humor involving a woman as the butt of a joke will not be tolerated." Apparently some of them lack the humor gene...

jdeeripper said...

MadisonMan said...I think the joke would have worked better if the woman was just angry, not ugly and angry. Anyway, who can be angry and beautiful at the same time? But I chuckled.

Ah, no. An angry beautiful woman can't be sexy? Depends on what she's angry about.

It's not the woman's anger that makes her unsexy. It's the ugly and or feminism that makes her unattractive.

And Clinton here wasn't whining just adding on to the old guy's joke.

John Althouse Cohen said...

I see a lot of people are responding to the idea that it's sexist by saying, "But it's funny!" Those are really separate questions. Of course there are a lot of bigoted jokes that people will still laugh at. Some racist jokes are funny, but they're still racist.

k*thy said...

Pretty good jokes - both guys playing off of their public personas.

Clinton wasn't whining. 'Ugly' wasn't necessary.

John Althouse Cohen said...

we ALL know EXACTLY what kind of woman he is talking about.

Interesting that you mean this comment to refute, rather than support, the claim that the joke is sexist.

John Althouse Cohen said...

It references a stereotype without asserting it: He is talking about one woman, not asserting anything about any group of women. That's why it feels OK to most people.

Humor always works through details and specific characters. The way to make a bigoted joke is to depict a specific person from the South as an uneducated redneck, or depict a specific black person as someone who's lazy and loves fried chicken and watermelon. The fact that the joke uses one specific character doesn't make it not sexist; it just means the person who wrote the joke is minimally competent at writing jokes. If he had just said, "All feminists are ugly!," it wouldn't even be a joke, it would just be a statement.

fivewheels said...

And it would be a statement about feminists, not women. Now you're conflating those categories, which many women will object to.

Do you see why even a blanket animus against feminists (which I neither have nor allege against Bush) is not equal to sexism?

fcai said...

K*thy - ugly is not necessary because he is talking about feminists - it is redundant.

Racism is dead - if Jesse Jackson can drop n-bombs and publically state that he wishes to castrate Obama, then anything goes.

You can't have it both ways. There are no racist jokes, mainly because a joke can't be anything but a joke. Can't be racist. But I would assert that even the teller of the joke can no longer be called a racist - we live in a post-racial age. Racism is so 2008.

MayBee said...

The fact that the joke uses one specific character doesn't make it not sexist; it just means the person who wrote the joke is minimally competent at writing jokes.

What makes you think it is a joke someone wrote?
My guess is it's an experience that actually happened to him.
We have to hear about vagina warriors, the vagina monologues, see women dress themselves as vaginas- all in the name of making a big political statement.
Of course an older man is going to wonder why these women want us to focus on their wombs and vaginas so much.
He doesn't want to. Who does?

In his telling of the story, he finds her ugly. He isn't interested in her or her womb. That is not sexist.

fivewheels said...

The problem is, the joke does not arise from a sexist premise. At heart, the joke is wordplay.

It does slightly dance around the edge of the concept that a woman's value is tied up in her attractiveness. That is a sexist area, and the avenue you should be pursuing to make the sexist charge stick and probably the reason you are seeing it that way. The problem is, the joke does not rely on that trope for its humor. The joke is essentially about two meanings of "stay out".

Henry Buck said...

The filial scold returns.

Deana said...

Lighten up, John.

It's a joke. A joke! Remember what those are??? You listen and then laugh, you know, "haa-haa-haa?"

I'd bet money that 90% of the people who listened to Bush tell the story all pictured a similar looking woman in their head. It's about how this woman looked, her behavior, and what she screamed at him.

I hope you are sitting down, John, because I, a woman, am going to relate one of the funniest cartoons I ever saw.

I can't recall the artist but it showed some customers talking to a clerk at a bookstore. The clerk is clearly disgusted and tells the customers in an indignant tone, "This is a FEMINIST bookstore. We don't HAVE a humor section!"

Haa-haa-haa! I love that. Good stories and good jokes are always based on truth.

So John, stop spending your time looking for opportunities to be offended. You'll feel a lot better about life. Really.

MayBee said...


It does slightly dance around the edge of the concept that a woman's value is tied up in her attractiveness.


No.
The woman wants you to think the value of a baby is tied up in her *womb*.

I'm pro-choice, but too many pro-choice vagina warriors want to believe pro-life people are only interested in punishing women for having sex.
Do you think Bush wanted to even hear about that woman's womb? Do you think his anti-abortion stance is founded on wanting to control her womb? She was trying to be provocative by talking about her womb. He wasn't titillated. He was repulsed. That isn't sexist.

former law student said...

I quit paying attention to GHW when that lipless man exhorted us to read his lips.

Now I am going to be sexist. When I first saw GHW with Barbara, Senior, I wondered why he went everywhere with his mother. How selective can he be, when his taste in femininity appears to run to the old battleaxe?

Barbara "I can't say it, but it rhymes with rich", Senior didn't even look that good when she was still in her thirties:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Entire_Bush_family.jpg

Sofa King said...

So help me out here JAC:

Are we now taking the position that a man being sexually repulsed by a woman's apperances, is a sexist?

Or is it merely being honest about that information that makes him a sexist?

Doesn't this create rather a problem for homosexual men? Or are they granted a blanket exemption from the rules of poltical correctness?

Beth said...

though [I am] neither ugly nor angry

Whew! Glad you clarified that, cathy.

Trooper York said...

JAC knows a lot about a lot of stuff, cool new indie music and what the young college kids are into these days.

Humor not so much.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

The clerk is clearly disgusted and tells the customers in an indignant tone, "This is a FEMINIST bookstore. We don't HAVE a humor section!"

Q: How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: That's not funny!

rhhardin said...

Angry and ugly go together, as a male judgment; for the right kind of anger, namely what resembles nagging.

Nagging is a peculiarly female trait, and the male response to it peculiarly male. As Bernard McGuirk reviewed a Hillary sound bite, another wording of Bush's joke, ``Major shrinkage.''

The reason it's peculiarly female is that nagging is a quest-sending, only without ever any showing of satisfaction. The male response is eventually what you'd expect, the most benign form being jokes.

Synova said...

I'm pro-choice, but too many pro-choice vagina warriors want to believe pro-life people are only interested in punishing women for having sex.
Do you think Bush wanted to even hear about that woman's womb? Do you think his anti-abortion stance is founded on wanting to control her womb? She was trying to be provocative by talking about her womb. He wasn't titillated. He was repulsed. That isn't sexist.


I think that May Bee has it here.

I've noticed before that it seems to be all about the woman and never about the baby, and of course it *would* be, wouldn't it? For it to be about the baby the argument would have to assume that there *was* a baby at issue. Since there IS NO BABY it has to be about women, and about hating them.

Maybe, once, a very long time ago, some one wanted to force women to have children. Now, who is there that wouldn't be entirely happy with someone else's choice to be barren? The Catholic Church is going to continue to say that the purpose of sex is reproduction and artificial birth control is sketchy, but last I checked no one was forced to be Catholic. I've gotten by quite well all of my life not being Catholic.

NO ONE is wanting anything to do with some random stranger's womb. If she wants to chose when to get pregnant or not, or to be "child-free", no one is interested in forcing her to a biological role. NO one cares if the contents of her ovaries are flushed away.

It's not about her, it's about a baby that didn't ask to be conceived, didn't push itself in there all uninvited and demand that she serve as host.

Deana said...

Q: How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: That's not funny!

Synova, that is precisely correct.

Trooper York said...

I for one want to control her wombat. That freakin’ thing is crapping all over the place. Nobody is interested in picking up the crap spew from your wombat.

justagal said...

http://www.bentbay.dk/gaver/whoare_8.jpg

She looks pretty good here, fls.

Nichevo said...

Should we then have a photo of FLS?

"My eyes...the goggles do nothing!"

But SRSLY, imagine if the woman in the joke was Helen Thomas. It would be impolite to name her, so Bush accurately describes her as an ugly, angry woman.

And yes, I am sympathetic to the notion that, by a certain age at least, one has the face one's earned.

John Althouse Cohen said...

So help me out here JAC:

Are we now taking the position that a man being sexually repulsed by a woman's apperances, is a sexist?

Or is it merely being honest about that information that makes him a sexist?

Doesn't this create rather a problem for homosexual men?


No, no, and no.

But I think you knew that.

Buford Gooch said...

John Althouse Cohen said...

I don't get why it's sexist.

What a smarmy little jerk. If your Mama wasn't the proprietress of the blog, you would be treated like any other self-important troll.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Nichevo: To clarify ... for the sake of comparison, jokes about blacks loving chicken and watermelon are racist. That doesn't mean there are no black people who actually do like chicken and watermelon. You can substitute any group and stereotype -- same thing. By the same token, I think it's pretty obvious that I'm not claiming that every feminist woman is physically attractive. Are there women who happen to have feminist views and not be physically attractive? Of course. But the decision to play on this stereotype is what's sexist. If someone makes a joke about how all Republicans are racist, you could legitimately say this is prejudiced against Republicans, even if some Republicans are racist. I don't think I'm making an overly nuanced point that justifies all the professed bewilderment upthread.

John Althouse Cohen said...

"John Althouse Cohen said...

I don't get why it's sexist."

I did have those words in my comment, but I was quoting someone. That's why it was in italics.

Twin said...

Ann Althouse said, And then Bill Clinton whines about the fact that he's not allowed to make jokes like that. Apparently, he would love to.

That reminds me of all the many, many conservatives and Republicans who, over the years, I have heard complain about the fact that black people can call each other "n-----," but they (the white conservatives) cannot. This is such a source of irritation to these many, many conservatives. Apparently, conservatives would really love to use that word, so bothered are they by the different rules for different people.

And the funny thing is they still lack all awareness of why minorities stay away from the Republican Party in droves.

John Althouse Cohen said...

What a smarmy little jerk. If your Mama wasn't the proprietress of the blog, you would be treated like any other self-important troll.

Thank you for that illuminating substantive argument.

Buford Gooch said...

John Althouse Cohen said...

"John Althouse Cohen said...

I don't get why it's sexist."

I did have those words in my comment, but I was quoting someone. That's why it was in italics.


I was using the quote to mark the quoted material. I was referring to you being a smarmy little jerk because of what you said, not what you quoted. You seem very humor deprived, and always looking to educate us poor, benighted foold who don't get all of the victim crap.

Ralph said...

fls, she'd birthed six babies by then. Her other problem is too much Texas sun.

John Althouse Cohen said...

JAC knows a lot about a lot of stuff, cool new indie music and what the young college kids are into these days.

Humor not so much.


Sorry, Trooper York, I didn't mean to bore you.

Ralph said...

conservatives would really love to use that word,
The last few decades, the only people I've heard say it were gay white Democrats.

Revenant said...

a sexist joke of the sort that has been banished from polite speech for decades.

Correction: a joke of the sort that hasn't been said around women for decades. I can easily see almost any guy I know telling me that joke. It isn't even a sexist joke. It is a play on "stay out of my womb".

Picture an ugly man protesting, say, circumcision. Waving a big sign saying "hands off my penis". Tell me that isn't an amusingly ironic image for ENTIRELY non-sexist reasons.

Revenant said...

Apparently, conservatives would really love to use that word, so bothered are they by the different rules for different people.

You don't get it.

What bothers me about the way people shrug when black people call each other by that word is that it is a disgusting term no matter who uses it. Excusing its use by black people is just another way of saying "well, we don't expect blacks to act like decent white folk do".

What you and so many other leftists miss is that the act of calling a black man a nigger is offensive to everybody, not just to black people -- just like telling a woman "you cunts should stay in your place" would shock and offend every single man I know. That isn't how decent folk talk OR think.

fivewheels said...

JAC, you still haven't solved the problem of feminists =/= women. Feminists can be offended by the joke because it's about them and that's what they care about, and they're probably right to be offended by it, but that still doesn't make it sexist.

Synova said...

Twin, complaining of the difference in rules doesn't depend on the specific example given.

At some point the difference in rules becomes an excuse to keep the hated sub-group having to twist themselves in knots according to someone else's capriciousness, just to see them do it. It's dependent, actually, on race. Different treatment and different rules according to the color of your skin and accident of your birth.

And then move the goal-posts, insist that intent is irrelevant, and demonize anyone who complains.

Trooper York said...

Hey JAC I was giving you a sincere compliment. You are hip to all the new style bullshit that the tongue pierced tattoo girls like to hear so you can get into their pants.

It just that usually your stuff is dryer than Helen Thomas's twat.

Just one idiot’s opinion.

We all have our places on the food chain. Even Poindexter had his own TV show.

Nichevo said...

Troop, is he? OK, JAC, spill...

meanwhile on you to me:


Blogger John Althouse Cohen said...

Nichevo: To clarify ... for the sake of comparison, jokes about blacks loving chicken and watermelon are racist.


Not from Chris Rock. OK, he can tell it, he has black skin victim privilege, but now is it okay for me to LAUGH?

And that's a cruel test. Perhaps you've read Bram Stoker's Dracula? Remember van Helsing on "King Laugh?" That shit just comes, yo.


That doesn't mean there are no black people who actually do like chicken and watermelon.

Yeah, and some is funny and some is not. I puzzled over the Earl Butz joke. I like tight pussy. I prefer shoes that fit, but loose is usually better than tight there. A warm place to shit? What does whitey like, toilet seats made of ice?

So other than by pushing buttons at the fart-joke level, Butz's joke was really not that funny. I mean we all like those things, except maybe women like fat cocks and tight shoes? There are many elements to humor, which is why just anyone can't do it well. The funniest thing about Earl Butz was his name.

Now, let's allow that it was racist. I feel it was racist, exactly because it was untrue both figuratively and literally. A fried-chicken-and-watermelon joke would have at least scanned, if you see what I mean.

In fact: think of GySgt Hartmann in Full Metal Jacket. I won't bother to dig up the quotes verbatim, but going along the (bunkhouse? dorm?) and commenting on all the new recruits, he comes to a black man whom he nicks Private Snowball.

He makes him a squad leader, IIRC (some racism!). He says "there's no discrimination, there are no black marines, white marines, only green marines."

Then he says, "That doesn't mean the mess hall serves fried chicken and watermelon every night!"

Not - quite - the same.

You can substitute any group and stereotype -- same thing.

I have one which I think is damn funny, but which I don't think is racist - it is sort of universal. (I will await your dispensation to tell it, but think you might laugh even if you didn't want to fess up to it.)

And many are interchangeable. The fall guy or straight man in an Irish joke can often just as easily be a Pole (or "Polack"). And it is often hard to know who is the butt of the joke as well.

Given that racial slurs are offensive, they are often used to give offense to the person rather than to the race, if you will.

For instance, if I called you a dirty sheeny Christ-killer whose nose was so big because air was free (see, I'm in the same mixed-marriage boat as you, so I can say that, but you don't know it except that I told you), am I out to insult Jews, or am I looking to piss off one Jaltcoh enough to make him take a swing at me?

By the same token, I think it's pretty obvious that I'm not claiming that every feminist woman is physically attractive.

The joke would not be funny if she were not IDd as ugly. I have no rule against boning angry chicks per se.

Are there women who happen to have feminist views and not be physically attractive? Of course.


Apparently, enough to give the stereotype some zing. And as I have said, ugly is as ugly does, and I think the common "feminazi" personality is so off-putting that I would find them even uglier than they may be. Sinead O'Connor is a beautiful woman, but that day she tore up the Pope's picture she wasn't at her best, let's say. Facial expressions mean a lot. A smile can make anyone look better, and the reverse.

Anyway, humor has to have some truth to it; and humor generally hurts. Humor is not often kind.

But the decision to play on this stereotype is what's sexist. If someone makes a joke about how all Republicans are racist, you could legitimately say this is prejudiced against Republicans, even if some Republicans are racist.

Ha, but who would listen to you? I remember a dinner where the host, my best friend's dad, referenced "Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown." A liberal family all the way through, but when I said, "But why should you stereotype Chinatown or Chinese in this way? Why accept this anomie?" (or some such), I just basically got dead-fish stares.

I don't think I'm making an overly nuanced point that justifies all the professed bewilderment upthread.
2:00 PM

No, I don't think you suffer from an excess of nuance in this case.

I will risk offense, again, by asking, How old are you?

And let me know if you want to hear that joke. (It's not the one that ends, "You didn't really come here to hunt, did you?")

Cedarford said...

Ouch!!
From one of the Riehlworld commentors:

On Bush Sr's comments:

I always chuckle when I see pro-choice rallies.

more than half the women are beyond their reproductive years, while the rest are gay.

never see many kids there, as opposed to pro-life rallies. I guess if you are pro-choice, bringing a kid along to a rally would be like inviting a jew to hitler's birthday party.

Posted by: mark l.

Nichevo said...

OK I'm not waiting for your permission, Jaltcoh, let your mom take it down if it's unbearable. It's an old one, I guess:


A 6' 8", 300 lb. black man walks into a bar and sits down next to a Jewish guy and says, "I's big, I's black, and I's loves to fuck white womens." The Jewish man quickly pays for his drink and leaves.

So the man walks over to an Irishman, sits down and announces, "I's big, I's black, and I's loves to fuck dem white womens." The Irishman also pays for his drink and leaves abruptly.

So the brother walks over to a Polack, sits down and again says, "I's big, I's black, and I's just loves to fuck da white womens."

The Polack responds, "Yeah, I don't blame you. I wouldn't fuck a nigger either."



Funny? Of course it was! Tasteless? That's why it was in a collection called Truly Tasteless Jokes V! A couple of sections after the dead baby jokes and the Helen Keller jokes.

blake said...

JAC is flat wrong: Trafficking in stereotypes is not racism.

Racism is the idea that one race is superior to another. Nothing in a "chicken and watermelon" joke even implies that. To the extent that a black person like Chris Rock can tell a joke like that and a white person can't, well, that is racism. It imparts to black people a moral superiority on the subject of racism. (I suppose someone like Twin would argue that the rules for whites and blacks are "separate but equal".)

There's nothing "-ist" about GHWB's joke at all. It's a kind of reverse-sexism: JAC attributes a (to his mind inferior) point-of-view to the President based on the relation of a single incident.

I urge JAC to find the Carlin routine from the '80s (1984?) where he does same joke against pro-lifers, except that he paints the entire female pro-life crowd in far more vicious terms than "No problem lady".

Still sexist?

Pogo said...

Anti-racism is the new racism.

William said...

For Clinton to whine about not being able to tell sexist jokes is akin to Leni Riefenstahl complaining that she is not allowed to make movies with Jews with funny accents while Mel Brooks is. Never forget that Clinton used the nookie magnetism inherent in the Office of Presidency to ruin a young woman's life. Monica Lewinsky will have a different and worse life because of her relationship with Clinton. She was an intern in his office, and Clinton had a in loco parentis obligation to her. Monica was a ditzy girl acting out her parents' divorce. Her stupidity didn't merit her becoming a national joke, and her name becoming a synonymn for blow job. This was Clinton's fault.....The fact that so many feel the need to elaborate on the flaws of Bush the Elder and shrug off the sins of Clinton speaks more to liberal hypocrisy than conservative sexism. Bush made a joke; Clinton made someone a joke. Who is the greater sexist?

John Althouse Cohen said...

I urge JAC to find the Carlin routine from the '80s (1984?) where he does same joke against pro-lifers, except that he paints the entire female pro-life crowd in far more vicious terms than "No problem lady". Still sexist?

You seem to be mistakenly assuming either that I'm a huge fan of George Carlin or that George Carlin is the gold standard for non-offensiveness.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Hey JAC I was giving you a sincere compliment.

And I was giving you a sincere apology.

Trooper York said...

Thanks dude, it is always fun when we mix it up. Sometimes it can get rough in the comments section. That's why I like to hang out in the toy department.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"That reminds me of all the many, many conservatives and Republicans who, over the years, I have heard complain about the fact that black people can call each other "n-----," but they (the white conservatives) cannot. This is such a source of irritation to these many, many conservatives. Apparently, conservatives would really love to use that word, so bothered are they by the different rules for different people.

And the funny thing is they still lack all awareness of why minorities stay away from the Republican Party in droves."

Trivia question: Who was it who defended his own use of the n-word by saying, "There's white n---s!"

blake said...

You seem to be mistakenly assuming either that I'm a huge fan of George Carlin or that George Carlin is the gold standard for non-offensiveness.

Hardly.

You've advanced the unsupportable (and entirely unfunny) position that humor cannot rely on stereotypes without being an -ism of some sort.

If I can find people of all different political philosophies, who clearly are not only not the -ism you assign to them but also widely conflicting in their beliefs all telling the same joke I think that refutes your point pretty well.

OK, so GHWB a "conservative" (of some sort, pro-life I guess) tells this joke and you come to the conclusion that those who disagree with you about its allegedly sexist nature are pro-life.

So I point out George "Pro-Life Is Anti-Woman" Carlin making the exact same joke.

How does that not completely refute your point?

Eric said...

And the funny thing is they still lack all awareness of why minorities stay away from the Republican Party in droves.

No, I think we realize they vote Democratic because the Democrats promise them tax-financed goodies and "affirmative action". It doesn't have anything to do with racism and never did.

Revenant said...

She was an intern in his office, and Clinton had a in loco parentis obligation to her.

Bah.

Look, I supported impeaching Clinton for perjury. But he wasn't Lewinsky's dad and had absolutely zero obligation to act like he was. She was 22 when their affair began. That is plenty old enough to tell right from wrong. Clinton didn't rape her or assault her like he did other women. She was an educated adult woman who knowingly began an affair with a guy who was married and had kids.

So boo hoo for her "ruined" life. She deserved to be publicly shamed for what she did. The pity is that Clinton didn't suffer harsher consequences for what HE did.

Revenant said...

You seem to be mistakenly assuming either that I'm a huge fan of George Carlin or that George Carlin is the gold standard for non-offensiveness.

You seem to think that "offensive" and "sexist" are synonyms. You might find everything sexist to be offensive, but not everything that offends you is sexist.

Dogwood said...

Bush's story was not sexist or mean. She was ugly. She was angry. And she said something stupid.

No harm in joking about it.

Now, if he had mentioned her name and address, if he had made it personal, then it would have been mean, but still not sexist.

And Clinton was good, too, he does self-deprecating humor very well.

Bottomline: People just need to chill the f@$# out and rediscover the ability to laugh at people who do and/or say stupid things, even if those people are on the same side of an issue or cause.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I think that what keeps the joke from being more than mildly sexist is that by making the sign personal (keep out of MY womb) and shoving it in Pres. Bush's face, she invited a personal reaction from him. The sign presumed his wanting to get intimate with her, which he did not.

My mama told me a LONG time ago that if I want to be treated like a lady, I have to act like one.

OTOH, maybe being pro-life, I am somehow obligated to make excuses.