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Do the kinds of political joke that get circulated in a polity depend on the structure - page 36 / 46





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Douglas Ayling

mentalities, the results found do not directly contradict this theoretical claim, although the

proportion of 14% is uncomfortable close to the percentage of ideology-related jokes under

post-totalitarianism. I would have expected it to be substantially lower based on the Linzian

conception of a regime that struggles to articulate a unified ideology.

Broadly it will be noted here that some of the humour which in Fig. 8.1 speaks

neither to the state, regime nor the ideology did in fact relate to the performance of

Germany during the war and could be thought to signal concerns about the progress of the

war. This trope characterised the Third Reich sample in a manner not seen in the other

sources. An example joke would be:

“Are we going to lose the war” one German asks another. “Yes,” says his friend, “but when?”60

It may also help to explain the large state sector of the pie charts shown in figures 9.1 and

especially 7.1 to know that many of these jokes relate to problems with the economy which,

given the infrastructural and administrative issues which could be said to underlie many of

the supply-side difficulties, I have categorised as jokes that speak to the state. The

following is an example from the 1988 Soviet collection which was particularly hard to

categorise, but arguably speaks to the state:


Lipman (1991), p.201

page 36

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