Thursday, 13 July 2006

Laughs In The USSR

Via Boing Boing comes an article in Prospect Magazine about jokes as resistance to communist regimes:
In the 1960s, the Soviet bloc was deluged by a flood of new jokes. There were around 20 subcategories. The most popular theme was the economy: One housewife to another: "I hear there'll be snow tomorrow"—"Well, I'm not queuing for that." There were jokes about Soviet propaganda: The capitalists are standing at the edge of the abyss. Soon communism will overtake capitalism. There were gags about Marxist-Leninist theory: Why is the individual placed in the centre of socialism? So it's easy to kick him from all sides. There were jokes about communist art: What is the difference between painters of the naturalist, impressionist and the socialist realist schools? The naturalists paint as they see, the impressionists as they feel, the socialist realists as they are told. There were jokes about communist-style democracy: When was the first Russian election? The time that God put Eve in front of Adam and said, "Go ahead, choose your wife." And, of course, there were Jewish communist jokes: "Hey Hymee, how's your brother Joseph?" "He's living in Prague and building socialism." "And didn't you have a sister, Judith—how's she doing?" "She's well too—living in Budapest and creating a communist future." "And your older brother Bernie?" "Oh he moved to Israel." "And is he building socialism there too?" "What, are you crazy? Do you think he'd do that in his own country?"

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