Often Poked Holes

April 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

It turns out I’m much more in to blogging than I thought I would be.  I log on everyday to check if any of you kind people have looked at the page, and I’ve been googling various keywords like my name and the title to see how easy it would be for someone to find or stumble across the page.  Unfortunately, there are several Evan Kingstons out there who don’t seem to be as afraid of the internet as me and the blog is pretty far down the list when you google The Oldest Jokes in the World.

On the upside, though, this funny Reuter’s article was at the top of the list.  When I decided on the name, it didn’t even occur to me that we might have ancient jokes on record, but it turns out a few years ago Dave TV commissioned a study of the oldest jokes in the world, several of which are included in the article.

Though the Sumerian example–“Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.”–made me laugh, I’m not sure I totally get it.  Nevertheless, I find it very exciting that these jokes, though separated from us by thousands of years, are still easily recognizable as humor to our modern sensibilities.  The fact that they’re all about sex surely helps–and reinforces the Chesterton quote I posted earlier in the week: we joke about whatever is most important to us.

“Jokes have varied over the years, with some taking the question and answer format while others are witty proverbs or riddles,” said the report’s writer Dr Paul McDonald, senior lecturer at the university.

“What they all share however, is a willingness to deal with taboos and a degree of rebellion. Modern puns, Essex girl jokes and toilet humour can all be traced back to the very earliest jokes identified in this research.”

Just as they are today, the oldest jokes in the world were a way for their tellers to talk about matters of such import that serious language couldn’t handle them.

Anyhow, thanks again for reading.  And if anyone knows how to get the blog to show up at the top of google or what I’m missing in the joke about the young Sumerian woman farting, please comment below.

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