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Do the kinds of political joke that get circulated in a polity depend on the structure - page 22 / 46





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Douglas Ayling

z Please note: The following joke contains an episode that readers may find offensive. In this respect it is not representative of the sample. Freudenheim was walking down the street in Nazi Germany in 1934, when suddenly a large black limousine pulled up beside him. Freudenheim looked up in astonishment and terror as Hitler himself climbed out of the car. Holding a gun to Freudenheim, Hitler ordered him to get down on his hands and knees. And pointing to a pile of excrement on the curb, Hitler ordered the Jew to eat it. Freudenheim, putting discretion before valor, complied. Hitler began laughing so hard that he dropped the gun. Freudenheim picked it up, and ordered Hitler to undergo the same humiliation. As Hitler got down on the sidewalk, Freudenheim ran from the scene as fast as he could. Later that day, when Freudenheim returned home, his wife asked him, “How was your day?” “Oh, fine dear,” he answered. “By the way, you’ll never guess who I had lunch with today.”39

z During the onset of Nazi terror, an elderly Jew was walking down the street in Berlin when he was stopped by two storm troopers. “Halt Jew!” they cried, and proceeded to interrogate him. “Who is responsible for all of Germany’s troubles?” they demanded. The Jew looked at them and said, “Why, the bicycle riders and the Jews.” “Bicycle riders” they snorted. “What foolishness. Why the bicycle riders?” “Why the Jews?” replied the old man.40

z Two Jews had a plan to assassinate Hitler. They learned that he drove by a certain corner at noon each day, and they waited for him there with their guns well hidden. At exactly noon they were ready to shoot, but there was no sign of Hitler. Five minutes later, nothing. Another five minutes went by, but no sign of Hitler. By 12:15 they had started to give up hope. “My goodness,” said one of the men. “I hope nothing’s happened to him.”41


ib., p.194


ib., p.206


ib., p.16

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