Scientists are gradually beginning to discover that progressives are, as the rest of us have known for decades, essentially humorless:
While Americans choose their next president, let us consider a question more amenable to science: Which candidate’s supporters have a better sense of humor? In strict accordance with experimental protocol, we begin by asking you to rate, on a scale of 1 (not funny at all) to 9 (hilarious) the following three attempts at humor:
A) Jake is about to chip onto the green at his local golf course when a long funeral procession passes by. He stops in midswing, doffs his cap, closes his eyes and bows in prayer. His playing companion is deeply impressed. “That’s the most thoughtful and touching thing I’ve ever seen,” he says. Jake replies, “Yeah, well, we were married 35 years.”
B) I think there should be something in science called the “reindeer effect.” I don’t know what it would be, but I think it’d be good to hear someone say, “Gentlemen, what we have here is a terrifying example of the reindeer effect.”
C) If you saw two guys named Hambone and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins the most? I’d say Flippy, wouldn’t you? You’d be wrong, though. It’s Hambone.
Those were some of the jokes rated by nearly 300 people in Boston in a recent study. (You can rate some of the others at TierneyLab, nytimes.com/tierneylab.) The researchers picked out a variety of jokes — good, bad, conventional, absurdist — to look for differences in reactions between self-described liberals and conservatives.
They expected conservatives to like traditional jokes, like the one about the golfing widower, that reinforce racial and gender stereotypes. And because liberals had previously been reported to be more flexible and open to new ideas, the researchers expected them to get a bigger laugh out of unconventional humor, like Jack Handey’s “Deep Thoughts” about the reindeer effect and Hambone.
Indeed, the conservatives did rate the traditional golf and marriage jokes as significantly funnier than the liberals did. But they also gave higher ratings to the absurdist “Deep Thoughts.” In fact, they enjoyed all kinds of humor more.
Actually, it’s not quite true to say that progressives are completely humorless. They do enjoy one single joke that they repeat over and over again, in a myriad of variants.
“That X, he sure is stupid, isn’t he!”
It’s such a great joke because it works for everyone. They should have tried these three jokes on the progressives in the study:
A) George Bush is so stupid, he is really dumb!” (hilarity ensues)
B) Ronald Reagan is so stupid, he forgot he was senile! (a wave of laughter)
C) Barack Obama is so stupid, he married a Klingon! (stone cold silence)
What passes for progressive humor isn’t actually humor per se, it is merely group reinforcement behavior. It’s how the rabbits police the bounds of what is, and what is not, currently deemed acceptable to the warren. And speaking of humor, there are few things funnier than seeing the expression on the face of a progressive who hasn’t realized that the borders have been moved again tell a “joke” that is based on the previously defined limits, waiting expectantly for his endorphin rush of group approval, and then failing to receive it.
On the Tierney jokes, I’d rate them 7, 1, 4.