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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Irishman Walks Into A Bar...

In little Britain the idiot in any joke is sure, to be sure, to be Irish: put in barrels, asked to pee in the corner; choosing death by Mau-Mau - that would be Paddy, or Seamus.

At school - Catholic school - we were taught that the origin of Irish jokes lay in the envy of Dark Agèd englishmen towards scholastic Irish monks, with their readin' and their writin' and their preachin' and their girlie Book of Kells when all that time they could have been out rapin' and pillagin' like real men! But like many things taught at that place, probably a myth, a half-truth at best: more likely, if it has any truth at all, it was the catholics, the Romans, who started it; whose mission was to subvert and subsume the heretical Celtic church, with its Holy Roods and its mad hairy monks.

Also in little Britain, where americans are all loud-mouthed and loud-trousered, it is the common belief that the Poles, polacks, are the National Butt of idiot jokes.

Well; I've been here eight years and never heard a single one. Not one.

Not that I'm likely to hear many jokes at all where I work, humor being wholly absent from that dreadful place, but not on the telly, not even Fox.

I mention all of this only because I'm off to Poland in the morning, in a last desperate attempt to pull something out of the flaming wreck that is my project before an iron curtain descends upon it forever. I've never been before, and don't know quite what to expect? I have known poles though - old guys in the Yard where I was apprenticed, full of twinkling mischief and dark humor; guys who'd come over during the war, to wreak revenge upon the Hun. Guys who kept pigs in their back yards, who'd bring home-made black puddings to share at work (I'd kill for some black pudding right now - but my Goddess would kill me if I even hinted at bringing some into the house. Not considered fit for Californian consumption. See - there are limits!)

Knowing next to nothing of where I am going, then, I was half-tempted to read The Tin Drum again on the plane, for it is set in the very city I'm headed to. But the bastard Grass was a nazi all along, and not at all the "hapless" kind he'd have us believe. Guess I'll read something else, then.

Oh - "Ouch!"


Blogger DarkoV said...

With your outsize personality and natural curiosity, I don't think you need any books to be read regarding Poland. Let Nature set your course.
About Holy Roods? I thought that was simply the Japanes pronunciation of that Soddam & Gommorah of Hollywood. A most revealling little piece.

As far as not hearing any of this kind of stuff in the 8 years you've been in the States, all I can say that back on the Other COast, we're still defaming nationalities and fighting anyone who disses ours.

Hey, have a great time and good luck with your project.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had no end of Polack jokes growing up on the Canadian prairies, mid-70s. More abundant, however, were Ukranian jokes (our neighbors) and Newfie jokes, who were certainly connected to the Irish (neither of whom we'd ever met).

12:54 PM  
Blogger Russ said...

This is quite a coincidence, I was just looking at a British blog that went on with a long string of Polish jokes and then I happen upon yours. Like the Canadian I heard many Polish and "Bohunk" jokes groing up in rural Nebraska which has many Germans, as I am, and Czechs and Poles. I'd love to go to Poland myself. One thing of consensus on that blog I mentioned, the women have the "firmest breasts."

6:56 PM  
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