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Do the kinds of political joke that get circulated in a polity depend on the structure - page 27 / 46

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Douglas Ayling

Authoritarian

Franco

z It seems that right after the Civil War had ended in 1939, a fisherman from Galicia loaded up his small boat with provisions, pushed it confidently into the sea, and began to row toward America. Somewhere out in the middle of the Atlantic, the captain of a large sea liner noticed the fellow and signalled the engine room to slow the ship. When he finally got close enough to talk to the Gallegan, the captain looked over the edge of his ship and shouted, Ahoy down there! What in the hell are you doing?” “Me? I’m going to America,” replied the man. “You’re going to America by crossing the Atlantic in a rowboat?” “Yes, it’s all I have.” “Well, then,” replied the captain, “why are you going?” “Because I have toothache and I’m going to America to get it fixed.” The captain was totally bewildered. “You mean to tell me” he said, “that there are no dentists where you come from?” “Oh, yes,” the fisherman assured him, “In Spain we have a lot of dentists, but nobody dares to open his mouth!”56

z They say that General Franco, in one of his famous speeches from the Plaza de Oriente in Madrid, actually declared: “Spaniards! In 1939, our country was at the brink of an abyss. But now, thanks to my courageous leadership, we have taken a giant step forward!”57

56 Uxio Valentin, ‘Franco Jokes: The Spaniards are Still Getting Even with the Generalissimo’, Journal of Popular Culture, 20: 4 (1987: Spring), p.91 ibid., p.84 57

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