Offended yet?

Here’s a joke for you.

A man was riding his motorcycle along a beach when suddenly the sky clouded above his head and, in a booming voice, the Lord said: ‘Because you have TRIED to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish.’

The biker pulled over and said: ‘Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can ride over any time I want.’

The Lord said, ‘Your request is materialistic, think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking; the supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific and the concrete and steel it would take!

‘It will nearly exhaust several natural resources. I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of something that could possibly help mankind.’

The biker thought about it for a long time. Finally, he said, ‘Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand women; I want to know how she feels inside, what she’s thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says nothing’s wrong, and how I can make a woman truly happy.’

The Lord replied: ‘You want two lanes or four on that bridge?’

Funny? Maybe or maybe not. Okay, now suppose I replace the word “women” with something else. Like an ethnic group.

Finally, he said, ‘Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand African-Americans; I want to know how they feel inside, what they’re thinking when they give me the silent treatment, why they cry, what they mean when they say nothing’s wrong, and how I can make a African-American truly happy.’

Still funny? No? Yes? How about now?

Finally, he said, ‘Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand Muslims; I want to know how they feel inside, what they’re thinking when they give me the silent treatment, why they cry, what they mean when they say nothing’s wrong, and how I can make a Muslim truly happy.’

Let me try again.

Finally, he said, ‘Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand homosexuals. …

Or maybe this one will still be funny.

Finally, he said, ‘Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand fat people. …

Or these.

Finally, he said, ‘Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand handicapped people. …

Finally, he said, ‘Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand poor people. …

Finally, he said, ‘Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand mentally disabled people. …

Finally, he said, ‘Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand geeks. …

Still funny? Yes? Well, I’ll keep trying. Because eventually I’m going to hit on some sort of characteristic or subgroup that suddenly offends you — probably because it’s one you identify with. At that point, the joke isn’t funny any more, because it’s forcing you into a stereotype — and calling you unfathomable, irrational, indecipherable or incomprehensible.

Now you can understand why the original joke might offend women.

And that’s why it doesn’t belong on a mailing list, because substituting out the word “women” — even just to take a jab at newbs — doesn’t erase the fact that it’s a sexist joke … or a racist joke, or a religious joke.

That’s not what Ubuntu is about. So get past your yuk-yuk fraternity humor, your “get over it” attitudes and your “it was just a joke” mentality. Go back and reread the CoC and take better care in the future that your attempts at humor aren’t done at the expense of someone else.

Because if you can’t figure it out, I’ve got some really mean jokes about you that I can’t wait to tell.

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1 Response to “Offended yet?”


  1. 1 bapoumba 2007/03/30 at 12:45 AM

    I agree 100%.
    I just saw your blog post (sorry, no more feed reader, I’m going to be behind…), and yesterday, this is exactly what I told a friend to do, to realize this joke was not funny (told him to replace all “man” occurences with “woman” and all “woman” with something characteristic of him, adjusting the last paragraph to fit).
    And if this hurted only one person, that means that the joke was a hurting one, not suitable for a Linux-tech mailing list, specially an ubuntu mailing list (because of the CoC as you mentionned).


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