Posted by Tania Kindersley.
It's strange, the voices that linger in your head. The ones I keep hearing from this week are: William Shawcross, tremulous with emotion as he told Jenni Murray of his adoration for the Queen Mother, and an anonymous man, articulate, well-educated, crying out in disbelief, 'You can't even tell Irish jokes any more'. I wish I could remember who it was. It's someone you would not necessarily expect. And he was not being asked about the Irish, or jokes, or political correctness. It just sort of shot out of him, like a cork, as if all he had been yearning for was to tell some Irish jokes, and no one would bloody well let him, and he could not contain himself any more.
But you know, he's got a point. I miss those Irish jokes. The gaiety of nations has suffered a hideous blow since you may no longer start a gag with: Paddy was digging a hole for his potatoes. And it's not just the Irish. Don't you hark back to the prelapsarian garden of delight where people could tell spic jokes and poof jokes and dyke jokes and kike jokes? It's amazing we have the strength to carry on. I especially miss the enchanting comic routines about the ladies, usually featuring mothers-in-law or hookers. I mourn the time when everyone knew that what was funny about us girls was that we were slightly thick or excessively hormonal. Remember the glory days when comics could riff about Sambo with his thick lips and his hysterical propensity for idleness? And then along came political correctness and dictated that no one could ever be funny again.
Actually, I have good news for that poor plaintive fellow. There are still lots of Irish jokes out there, it's just that now they are being made by Irish people. Lesbians make jokes about being lesbian; women make PMT jokes; Jews make jokes about Jews. Richard Pryor built an entire brilliant career on nigger jokes, which made white liberals a bit edgy (were they allowed to laugh, even though they were white?). Barack Obama made possibly the best joke ever by a politician when he was asked about Bill Clinton being called the first black president. 'I would have to investigate Bill's dancing abilities,' he said, deadpan, 'before I judged whether, in fact, he was a brother.'
If all else fails, those oppressed by the politically correct may go to racistjokes.com, a site so filled with insanity that I am still half convinced it must be a spoof ('if you're not white we hope you die') and laugh their unreconstructed arses off.