The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #33702   Message #456334
Posted By: ToneDeafDave
05-May-01 - 03:40 AM
Would the folks writing to this thread try to use the formulation "I find this offensive" rather than "This is offensive". The latter indicates either that the writer knows the views of the majority on the subject, or that there is some absolute and unchanging scale of offensiveness to which the writer has access, and of which others (no doubt members of some benighted minority not gifted with the writer's intellectual and moral superiority) are not aware.

The same applies to other words than 'offensive', of course, e.g. 'bigotry'.

I think the above will lead to a more rational view of the subject.

As a child, I was given 'The Book of Jewish Folklore'. A huge percentage of it was Jewish jokes. I still tell some of them. Some of them are in-jokes which a Jew would tell in a context where the teller could rely on a common cultural heritage with his audience (Shortest possible example - "Why is it, when you ask a Jew a question, he answers with another question?" "Nu, why shouldn't he answer with another question?"). Like the jokes and folklore of any culture, they helped me as a child to identify the elements of the culture of which I was a part.

I believe some Jewish jokes are, in fact, Jewish Folklore, even if some Jewish jokes are rubbish. I really don't know if other socio-ethnic communities have the same situation. Is it unique that Jews tell Jewish Jokes? I know Catholics who tell Catholic jokes but there my knowledge stops...

So, should Jews not tell Jewish jokes to each other? Should Jews not tell Jewish jokes to non-Jews? If they do, should non-Jews not repeat the jokes? Ah, but what if the non-Jews invent their own Jewish jokes? Does that mean the Jew shouldn't tell their own jokes?

You should excuse the expression (and I think it an extremely offensive one myself, but I can't resist it in the context, though no doubt I will be flamed for it) this tends to 'goyische kopf'.

Changing the subject a little - was this thread a mistake? Even though I was offended both by some of the jokes and by some of the opinions, anything that gets people thinking and gets their opinions out in the open is probably good.

And just maybe, offensive or not, some of the jokes were funny?