Offensive, non-PC post, part 2

My St. Patrick’s Day post drew a larger-than-usual number of readers and some comment, so I think I’ll just continue on being possibly offensive.

I come from a very mixed background (although admittedly all European). I had two German Lutheran grandfathers and two Irish grandmothers (I suspect one was Catholic and one was Protestant, although I don’t really know, to tell the truth. Formal religion as a cultural focus had largely disappeared from my family by the time I was born, for which I continue to be grateful. My family was focused on survival and community.). I am at least fourth- and probably fifth-generation pure “American.”

My Irish heritage makes me a force to be reckoned with. My German heritage makes me difficult to deal with at times. I have been known to be stubborn and opinionated, which I blame totally on the German genes. I am also known to be a bit fey and slightly crazy from time to time. I blame this on the Irish. There’s a little bit of other stuff mixed in there somewhere, I’m sure. But these are my primary cultural influences.

I married a man who is half Polish and half something like Transylvanian. We make an interesting couple, I’m told, but we’ve been married and accommodated each other for something more than a quarter of a century now. I see no reason why this won’t continue.

Ben used to be really sensitive about Polish jokes. There was a time when the Polish joke was used to represent the ultimate in stupidity. Then one of my crazy sisters came to visit. “I’ve got a Polish joke,” she said, not knowing about the sensitivity of this issue in our household.

“Hold, on,” Ben said. “I’m Polish.”

“I’m sorry,” Liz answered. “I didn’t realize. Would you like me to tell it slower?”  That was the end of Ben taking offense.

The truth about ethnic humor is the same as the truth about “dirty” jokes with sexual innuendo, in my opinion. If the joke is funny, it’s funny with or without the ethnic reference or sexual reference. It says something about us as humans. If that’s not true, then it’s not funny at all and should be thrown in the ashcan.

Good “ethnic” jokes translate across cultures. You can change the ethnicity and the joke is still funny. That’s because we’re all people. I’m much more interested in the things that connect us than the things that make us different, but I also think the things that make us different are inportant and shouldn’t be watered down.


6 Responses to “Offensive, non-PC post, part 2”

  1. whitishrabbit Says:

    It’s strangely quiet out in the blogosphere tonight.

  2. mklekacz Says:

    Yeah, I think I’ll go back to posting non-controversial stuff. Besides, I need to get into a state of proper penitence. I’ve got one more meeting with my tax guy.

  3. ombudsben Says:

    It’s possible that, with the arrival of spring, people are spending more time outside and less in doors.

    Of course, being under cloud cover in Oregon, you might not know about that.

    Whups, Marianne, did that cross the line of yours? Re translating? Would the kidding still work across the boundary?

    I guess only if you headed across the stateline for Seattle …

  4. mklekacz Says:

    Ben, you’re perfectly safe. We take a lot of kidding about the weather up here, but it’s really just a screen that we put up to keep to many Californians from moving here. . .Just kidding, of course.

    And it is raining today. Luckily it’s poetry day, so I’ll be heading to town shortly.

  5. Red Says:

    Irish-German here as well! Lovin the blog thus far.

  6. mklekacz Says:

    Welcome, Red. Glad you’re enjoying it.

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