By Ted Cohen
Abe and his pal Sol are out for a stroll jointly in part of city they haven't been in earlier than. Passing a Christian church, they observe a curious register entrance that claims "$1,000 to someone who will convert." "I ask yourself what that's about," says Abe. "I imagine I'll pass in and take a look. I'll be again in a minute; simply look ahead to me."
Sol sits at the sidewalk bench and waits patiently for almost part an hour. eventually, Abe reappears.
"Well," asks Sol, "what are they as much as? who're they attempting to convert? Why do they care? Did you get the $1,000?"
Indignantly Abe replies, "Money. That's all you humans care about."
Ted Cohen thinks that's now not a foul comic story. yet he additionally doesn't imagine it's a simple funny story. For a listener or reader to snort at Abe's conversion, a classy set of stipulations needs to be met. First, a listener has to acknowledge that Abe and Sol are Jewish names. moment, that listener should be acquainted with the frequent concept that Jews are extra attracted to cash than the rest. and at last, the listener must recognize this knowledge earlier than the funny story, and with out somebody telling her or him. Jokes, in brief, are advanced transactions during which groups are cast, intimacy is accessible, and another way offensive stereotypes and cliches lose their sting—at least sometimes.
Jokes is a publication of jokes and a publication approximately them. Cohen loves a great snicker, yet as a thinker, he's additionally drawn to how jokes paintings, why they paintings, and after they don't. The pride on the finish of a funny story is the results of a posh set of stipulations and approaches, and Cohen takes us via those stipulations in a philosophical exploration of humor. He considers questions of viewers, choice of funny story subject matters, the ethnic personality of jokes, and their morality, all with lots of examples that might make you both chortle or wince. Jokes: extra funny than different philosophy books, extra philosophical than different humor books.
"Befitting its topic, this examine of jokes is . . . mild, humorous, and thought-provoking. . . . [T]he procedure suits the fabric, permitting the writer to pepper the booklet with a range of jokes with no pulling down their humor as a steamroller conception could. this kind of booklet is barely nearly as good as its jokes, and such a lot of his are solid. . . . [E]ntertainment and ideas in a single gossamer package."—Kirkus Reviews
"One of the various triumphs of Ted Cohen's Jokes-apart from the now not incidental undeniable fact that the jokes are so sturdy that he doesn't trouble to compete with them-is that it by no means attempts to sound extra profound than the jokes it tells. . . . [H]e makes you're feeling he's doing an strange form of philosophy. as if he has controlled to show J. L. Austin into one of many Marx Brothers. . . . examining Jokes makes you're feeling that being genial is the main profound factor we ever do-which is whatever jokes additionally make us feel-and that doing philosophy is as usual as being amused."—Adam Phillips, London overview of Books
"[A] lucid and jargon-free examine of the impressive undeniable fact that we divert one another with tales intended to make us snort. . . . An illuminating examine, replete with killer jokes."—Kevin McCardle, The usher in (Glasgow)
"Cohen is an ardent joke-maker, prepared to supply us a glimpse of the way jokes are crafted and to have us live fairly longer on their effects."—Barry C. Smith, instances Literary Supplement
"Because Ted Cohen loves jokes, we come to understand them extra, and maybe imagine extra in regards to the caliber of excellent humor and the appropriateness of laughter in our lives."—Steve Carlson, Christian technological know-how computer screen
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Additional resources for Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters
Much effort was absorbed in the playing of 16th notes. This seems to be an excessive refinement. It is recommended that all notes be rounded up to the nearest quarter note. If this were done, it Page 60 would be possible to use trainees and lower-grade operatives more extensively. There seems to be too much repetition of some musical passages. Scores should be drastically pruned. No useful purpose is served by repeating on the horns a passage which has already been played on the strings. It is estimated that if all redundant passages were eliminated, the whole concert time of two hours could be reduced to 20 minutes, effectively cancelling the intermission.
A 38-ounce bottle. Why did Mozart kill his chickens? Because they always ran around going "Bach! Bach! " Page 86 Folk Music What is the difference between a violin and a fiddle? Nobody minds if you spill beer on a fiddle. What is the definition of an optimist? A folksinger with a mortgage. What is the difference between a folksinger and a puppy? Eventually the puppy stops whining. Military Music What do you get when you run an army officer over with a steamroller? A-flat major. Why does an Air Force drummer have a half-ounce more brains than the captain's horse?
Bach have 20 children? His organ didn't have any stops. What's better than roses on your piano? Tulips on your organ. What is worse than a dead skunk on your piano? An infected beaver on your organ. Page 16 Why doesn't heaven have a pipe organ? Because they needed the keys in hell to make accordians. Why are organists similar to a broken-winded carriage horse? They are always longing for another stop. How many organists does it take to change a lightbulb? Two. One to change the bulb and one to complain that the switch doesn't have any combination pistons.
Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters by Ted Cohen