When I lived in Germany, I bought this slim volume of side-by-side translations of English jokes, explaining them and their underlying principles to curious Germans. The main lessons I think were that the English were fond of puns and mean to the Irish. This piece of comedy Eirophobia in particular stuck with me…
An Irishman was working on the railroad when he heard a train coming along the track he was fixing. In panic, he jumped up and started sprinting down the track as fast as he could go, but he’d only managed a hundred yards when it caught up and ran him over. When he came to in hospital, the foreman asked him “Paddy, why didn’t you just run up the side of the track?”, to which he replied “Don’t be silly. If I couldn’t beat it on the level, what chance would I have had going uphill?”
Political correctness luckily means Irish jokes are now less vogueish than when I was a yoof, so how surprised was I to see the self same joke in today’s Guardian?
“Ireland’s recovery from the deepest recession of any eurozone country came to a quick and unexpected end today when the Irish government announced that national output dropped by 1.2% in the second quarter of 2010.
After posting an increase in growth in the first three months of the year, official data showed that the former “Celtic Tiger” sank into a double dip recession in the spring.
News of the relapse rattled the financial markets and put additional pressure on Dublin’s unpopular coalition government, which had previously insisted that its tough budget cuts were helping to stabilise the economy.”
(hat tip Adam at ToUChstone blog)