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Do the kinds of political joke that get circulated in a polity depend on the structure - page 37 / 46





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Douglas Ayling

Ivanov was standing in a very long line for vodka. “We have General Secretary Gorbachev to thank for such a long line,” one of Ivanov’s neighbours in line muttered. “He’s making the stuff very scarce.” “I can’t endure this any more,” Ivanov said, walking away. “I’m going to get my rifle and kill Gorbachev.” Two hours later Ivanov returned to the line. “What happened?” the others asked. “I decided to get back in this line. It’s shorter than the line to kill Gorbachev”61

The following East European example, which also exists in Czech and Polish versions, is

taken from the Banc and Dundes collection of 1990 and contributes towards the 48% of

jokes in fig. 7.1 which were categorised as speaking to the state:

In a food store in Bucharest.

  • Do you have any frankfurters?

  • No.

  • Do you have ham?

  • No.

  • Do you have bologna?

  • No.

  • Do you have dry salami?

  • No.

  • Do you have...

  • No.

After the customer leaves the store the vendor exclaims in amazement:

  • What a memory!62

The weakness methodologically with treating the Jewish experience under

repressive regime types as qualitatively different and therefore as giving rise to a different

spectrum of jokes is not that this appears inherently false. On the contrary the results

61 62

Harris and Rabinovich (1988), pp.165-6 Banc and Dundes (1990), p.65

page 37

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