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Douglas Ayling

and leadership. In favour of using such a typology would be its more comprehensive reach

and seeming robustness – although jokes about the economic situation and the police state

would probably be grouped perhaps awkwardly within “pluralism”. It would also be

informative – given the nature of the activity of joking which is less often about attacking,

and more often about being ludic in the vicinity of66 – to add an index for whether the

political joke could be regarded as “overtly critical” or simply “ambiguous/benign”. This

exercise was experimentally carried out for humour under the Third Reich and the

surprising results are shown in Appendix A.

If a distinction is to be made about the jokes of a minority group within a regime

type (e.g. Jewish humour), the sourcing of these jokes needs to be able to substantiate the

claim that the sample set is representative of the range of jokes circulated within the

minority community – and has not been expunged of its mainstream content.

Keenly felt is not merely the desirability, but also the necessity for future studies

of this nature to consult not just a broader range of sample sets for each individual regime,

but also to use many more sources for each regime type. The directions which this research

can take should be seen as having two distinct bearings. The comparativist asks whether

66 see Davies (2004), p.9: “Jokes merely play with aggression just as they play with anything whose verbal discussion and expression is constrained by social custom or by the power of ‘them’ up there.”

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