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[Rated Very R] Typical Russian Joke

 
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A father brings his 5-year-old daughter to doctor. The daughter is diagnosed with cancer. "What should I do?", asks the father. The doctor says: "Apply the wet mud". The father asks "Really? Does that help cure cancer?". "No", responds the doctor, "but it will let her get accustomed to earth".
 
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It's always been interesting to me how different cultures have such varying senses of humor. I suppose that one might say that the Russian sense of humor is fatalistic based on that joke. When I was learning Spanish, I noted that every joke my Mexican friends told me was a pun. The funny part of the joke doesn't translate at all.
 
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It's always been interesting to me how different cultures have such varying senses of humor. I suppose that one might say that the Russian sense of humor is fatalistic based on that joke.
Mm... Maybe.
My favorite joke was about what should we do if American anthropoids drop an atomic bomb at us. The answer was:
- "Wrap yourself into a white bed-sheet and crawl to the nearest cemetery! BUT! By all means, be quiet!"
- Why should I be quiet???
- For not to provoke panic!!!
 
mister krabs
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Do Russians really think that joke is funny? I thought it was horribly sad.
 
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hmmm . . . interesting. I didn't find either one very amusing. Just sort of morbid.
Maybe it IS a culture thing.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Maybe it IS a culture thing.
Maybe.
I remember how many people were offended by Eugene's fantastic description of situation around MD (where is this post... ah, here) and I still cannot get what was so offensive.
 
John Smith
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Very popular and characteristic Russian joke:
Winnie The Pooh and Piglet are running together. Piglet is yelling, "Winnie, Winnie, where are we running to?" "We are going to fuck the pig", -- says Winnie. "She doesn't mind?", asks Piglet. "We are not even going to ask for your permission", Winnie answers.
Reminds me of those Texas redneck jokes that Michael likes, -- same idea, somewhat different settings.
 
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Do Russians really think that joke is funny? I thought it was horribly sad.


Let me try to tackle on this.
Quote:
"There are historically three theories of humour:
  • The superiority-theory, as in where someone slips on a banana peel and surrounding bystanders laugh at the unhappy soul. This is I think an act of creating a sensis communis by excluding others. Defining a group by saying who is not part of it.
  • The relief-theory, where humour is used to relief emotions or tension, like making a light joke during stressful moments, e.g. when hiding in a Baghdad air raid shelter.
  • The incongruity-theory. In this last instance humour is used to put things upside down, to brake through patterns. It remembers me of Wittgensteins language-games where words take on different meanings in different contextualities.

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    I already gave this quote in another forum, when I found an example of humor-III. I would say that the jokes about A-bomb belongs to the type II. In the Soviet Union people lived under constant pressure of propaganda, which taught you important values of communist discipline and heroism. The best what could ever happen to you, if you somehow got a chance to sacrifice your life for the heck... No, what heck... for the sake of your communist homeland. Another important thing was to be a good citizen and to follow orders of your wonderful government not because you have no other choice, like it works in capitalist countries, but precisely because it's your own informed choice, you just want to. Etc... So this joke, as I understand, provided some relief from this pressure by demonstrating all absurdity of being a good citizen and futility of "heroism" in certain circumstances.
     
    John Smith
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    Map: There are historically three theories of humour
    I remember reading a science fiction novel, titled something like "Mister Laugh", by a Russian writer. The main character derived the formula of humor. With a single word or a grimace in a particular situation or context, he could make the people laugh to death (literally), so he used his formula to gain absolute control of the world. Since then, I often think, "what exactly makes a joke funny". These three theories that you quoted actually make sense as a classification system for jokes.
    The American "pie in the face" and the Russian "Winnie The Puh" jokes clearly fall under the first category. The "A-bomb" is clearly the second category. And the "girl with cancer" joke belongs to the third one (the pattern of grieving for the girl with cancer is violently broken).
    Eugene.
     
    Mapraputa Is
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    I suppose that one might say that the Russian sense of humor is fatalistic based on that joke.
    Here is another attempt.
    My close relative died from cancer when I was 12. She was my mother's aunt. My mother's mother died few days after she gave a birth, so she was my real "granny", and Eugene was her name.
    If I will ever have a daughter, I'll name her "Eugene". In the opposite case, it will be "Jim" and this is decided.
    She knew she will die. I think, she was about 58.
    I never heard a word of complain from her, and we visited her several times a week. The last thing she did, she made clothes for herself to be put in coffin. She asked my mother to buy lace, black -- a rare kind, and Mom did. I guess, even when you are going to leave this realm of meaning, you still need *something* to make sense out.
    I cannot imagine being worried about how I would look in a coffin. But then, I am not quite dying, so I do not know what I am talking about.
    From what I see here, I got an idea (perhaps wrong, if so, correct me) that American culture avoids tragic sense of life as a plague. People would rather watch comics, TV, drink, use drags, whatever else, but they will never admit that life is a tragedy.
    Everybody knows that what life leads to is death. Yet this isn't what you would comfortably think about, or discuss with your friends.
    "the Russian sense of humor is fatalistic" -- yes. And this looks more honest to me. "A father brings his 5-year-old daughter ..." -- and what you are going to say to the father who just lost his 5-year-old daughter? Without being hypocrite please...
     
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    If I will ever have a daughter, I'll name her "Eugene".
    Your daughter will be a real curse to any of the male Eugene's in her school. The name 'Eugene' is very popular in other countries but not so much in this one. (HEY! I know this from very first hand experiences , as I am aka Eugene.) Anyway, there can only be one thing worse for a boy named 'Eugene' in grade school here in the US - and that's to be a boy named 'Eugene' in grade school here in the US, with a girl also named 'Eugene' along side you in class!!!
    As an aside, my wife assured me recently that the only way our child would be named Eugene was if she died during child-birth. Well wouldn't you know... During her labor we had to sign forms that allowed me to make all life-sustaining decisions for her (or whatever the hell they call that stuff). She was in such pain that she just signed without reading, so I told her I added a clause that said she had to clean the apt for the remainder of our marriage. But inside my head I really thought to myself, "if the worst happens I will honor all your previous requests, honey, by naming our child 'Eugene'... - ha ha"
    We call that 'Black' humor. An since our children will be half black, there would have been some real truth to that...
    oh yeah, our daughter, was born on April 5 but passed on April 11. She put in a good fight, but as feisty as she was, she was just was too young, at 25 weeks, to make it. At least we got to meet her, name her, baptize her and say good-bye, though. She passed away as my wife held her. I held my wife, as she was holding our daughter, and tried to will my daughter's spirit into our hearts so we would never forget her. I hope it has worked!!!
    ---------------
    Hey, score one here for the American culture, Mapraputa!!!
    p.s. (I won't be making any stupid web-sites to back up my claim. You'll all just have to trust me...)
     
    Michael Morris
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    MAP: From what I see here, I got an idea (perhaps wrong, if so, correct me) that American culture avoids tragic sense of life as a plague. People would rather watch comics, TV, drink, use drags, whatever else, but they will never admit that life is a tragedy.

    I think you're right. Americans for the most part are optimists. To dwell on a subject for which there is no alternative outcome begs a pessimistic point of view. On the positive side of that, how many optimists have beat terminal illnesses because they refused to believe all was lost? Who knows? On the other side, how many are devastated when a loved one dies unexpectedly. Instead of saying life is a tragedy, I say it is both comedy and tragedy, but more comedy. The mere fact that we get the oppurtinity to be is worth all the pain and suffering we may have to endure in this life. I'm certainly not a scholar of Russian history but I can see how a fatalistic philosophy could result considering their subjagation first by the Czars and then by the Communists. Contrast that to the Americans who came from ancestors that left despotic countries to start a new life in the wilderness. Certainly many of those early Americans died from the rough conditions that they faced, but had they not had an optimistic point of view, they would have died out in a generation or two.
    MAP: Everybody knows that what life leads to is death. Yet this isn't what you would comfortably think about, or discuss with your friends.
    That's right nobody gets out of here alive and it is indeed an uncomfortable subject for most Americans. I could probably count on one hand the number of serious discussions I've had about death in my life. Being religious, I'm not particularly uncomfortable with it myself, except for the unknown aspects, but it is few and far between that you run across any American willing to discuss the subject aside from quoting the party line of whatever church they are a member of.
    MAP: She asked my mother to buy lace, black -- a rare kind, and Mom did. I guess, even when you are going to leave this realm of meaning, you still need *something* to make sense out.
    Both of my wife's parents died in a car accident when she was 18. The days before that, her mother had come and spoke with her about funeral arrangements for them just in case it were necessary, attire, music, where, etc. This came totally out of the blue. Was it a premonition? A woman's intuition? Who knows? But the point is, I think all of us, Americans included, are painfully aware of our mortality and try to deal with it in a way that is comfotable. For the Russian joke about it, for the American bury it into our subconscience as deeply as possible and only deal with it on an as needed basis.
     
    Cindy Glass
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    Originally posted by John Dunn:
    oh yeah, our daughter, was born on April 5 but passed on April 11. She put in a good fight, but as feisty as she was, she was just was too young, at 25 weeks, to make it. At least we got to meet her, name her, baptize her and say good-bye, though. She passed away as my wife held her. I held my wife, as she was holding our daughter, and tried to will my daughter's spirit into our hearts so we would never forget her. I hope it has worked!!!


    Oh John, I am so sorry.
    I can not even imagine losing a child. It must be heart breaking.
     
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    God bless you!
     
    Thomas Paul
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    John, I am so sorry.
     
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