Tuesday, September 21, 2010



The intention here is not to speak specifically about "Polish Jokes", but about this type of phenomena. There are excellent Polish Jokes in New York, or Italian jokes in Switzerland, or Irish jokes in England etc. There are sad ones too. To the point where the Polish-American Journal (published in Boston) printed the following in 2009: "Polish jokes started to decline in the USA when Polish Americans put aside their good nature and aggressively spoke out against this Anti-Polish hatred" etc... Admittedly the Polish Americans have some reasons to object to what historically had never been considerate behavior towards them, mostly by the Nazis and the Soviets in the past and the usual stuff immigrants have to hear anywhere, particularly in rough-going New York.

But leaving history aside, who does not like to have a good laugh? Some manage to make others laugh by poking fun at themselves (these are often the best jokes), others need to somehow degrade someone else, preferably when in an audience with similar intent. That's mostly the case with Polish or Italian jokes etc. Anytime a neighbor nation is involved or an immigrant.

In Brazil, many funny jokes are told about the Portuguese, the former colonials here. They are infallibly depicted as inept, not really intelligent or simply old-fashioned. It's an anti-colonial thing. And living in Brazil, the Portuguese one can meet here, one can see, have not always an easy time. Brazilians adore having fun. But they do not laugh so much when an Argentinian tells a joke about Brazilians...

The Jewish jokes I have come across in various countries, often told by Jews themselves, are sometimes of a different nature. The best ones show how clever Jews can be, usually compared to some other religious person or someone of the country where they live. One could say for these jokes that they are an instrument of self-defense. Using humor for that is a very popular thing in the Middle East.

One of the most notorious jokers there is a Turk, known in many other countries as the Hodjia or Mullah Nasreddin. A pendant to the Till Eulenspiegel of the Nordic people and the Dutch. The literature for whom likes this type of reading is quite ample and available in most languages.

What exactly humor is, psychologically, is an interesting subject: To laugh, is a release of energy and at the same time can appear to be a re-charging of energy. Only people with some spare energy can laugh. An exhausted person, even if there is something funny happening, will say "and I did not even have the strength to laugh..."

A "good laugh" is when one expends a considerable amount of energy. And despite this expense, the fact that there is some re-equilibration of energies going on, makes one feel well. The fact of public comics (the Lettermans, Lenos etc.) having success is mostly due to the timing of their presentations. People watching themon TV are usually tired, at the end of their day and welcome a change of mind which, because even if only slightly funny (more often the case than not), it helps them to re-equilibrate their humor (from the Latin, humidity, the state of lubrication of one's psychological machine).

No doubt also there are bigger than just daily cycles between morning and evening involved in humor being appreciated (and produced). It's tempting to think that the "Air du Temps", the flavor of the times plays a role. And if that is the case one might find an astrological link to that. It's quite easy to find a person's horoscope who is often inclined to laugh or gifted to tell funny stories, true ones or jokes he/she picked up somewhere. There are also characters who by simply being what they are, without doing much for that on purpose, are funny.

As a very general observation I found that sun-sign Aquarius is often funny, or fun to be with. A friend of mine, French, ex-captain with the air-born troops in French Africa, then turned banker and a very likable Aquarian has in his horoscope Sun/Jupiter conjunct in Aquarius and an exact trine between Mercury (in Capricorn) and Uranus (in Taurus). He is truly fun to be with. And knowing it, he has made it kind of a standard procedure in his behavior to entertain whomever is in his company. To the point where he had a rich client who accompanied him (on his own expense of course) on many of his professional displacements, just for the fun of being in the Aquarian's company.

Another quite entertaining Aquarian, overtly gay, is a German born in Brazil whose map I made. His natal Uranus (in Taurus) trines his Mercury (in Capricorn), as for the previous person. This leads me to wonder whether a well aspected Mercury in an earth-sign is not bringing about a light element, but also a well "earthed" ability of understanding whatever situation arises. "Funny" is often an observation which is "to the point". There is the unexpected, for whom did not see it by himself, which is being pointed out by the witty person that makes the other one laugh.

What's going on with Aquarians? The fact that they are opposite to the sign of Leo may give an explanation of why they easily can poke fun of themselves, in a light way. Contrary to a Leo, exactly. And that gives them a detached way of dealing with what comes across their path as well. As about themselves. But one better specifies that not all Aquarians are funny or likeable people. Some even show to the outside world the "worst sides of Leo, their opposite sign", i.e. the shadow...

To be more complete, but it's limited to my personal observations as I never came across any astrological take on humor, the map of a young Pisces I made (who is very good at telling stories), has the following characteristics which appear to give him such abilities: Mercury right on his Ascendant in Pisces, enforced by a precise trine from Saturn in Scorpio. His Piscean sensitivity and Mercurial wit is stabilized by a sarcastic Saturn. A way one can interpret his map.

A look at some slow planets and their transits in various signs permits a tentative conclusion which I hope some readers may be able to confirm or even amplify. There were in my experience 2 periods over the last 50 years with more humor and probably jokes being produced and told then other at other times:

The first period strikes me to have been in the late '50s and early '60s. This from what I remember was a period when satirical journals were en vogue: Le Canard Enchainé in France e.g. had a ball making fun of all-important De Gaulle. Playboy was at its peak, all over the world, and often man would buy the magazine because of the jokes, they said. Uranus then was transiting Leo. And - I freely interpret, Uranus being in his opposite sign of were he belongs, was loosening up what needed to be, in fixed and often stubborn or grandiose Leo.

The second period was in the mid-'80s. Then it probably was Jupiter who was transiting Capricorn, loosening up "Saturnian things". Possibly that Neptune then in his turn, as he was entering Capricorn, gave a hand as well.

Right now, with Pluto in Capricorn, I have the impression that in general the penchant for jokes and similar light stuff is receding. And the economic shock the world experienced lately has to do with that as well. The idea to investigate at first about "Polish Jokes", and then the rest came from my personal perception that at this moment there is very little joke-telling going on. A local illustration for that: when Lula was running for president here in Brazil 8 years ago, the place was full of jokes. Now it's very quiet. Almost colorless. And from what appears in the French and American press, it's the case there as well. Who thinks that e.g. The New-Yorker is still funny these days?


Anon said...

“Right now, with Pluto in Capricorn, I have the impression that in general the penchant for jokes and similar light stuff is receding.”

I have the same impression... For these are dark, truly **dark** times - a Dark Age...

It is the peculiar atmosphere of our age, in those past decades there was still a hope in the future, that now exists no more...

The future can only be the dictatorship of neo-liberism - as Tea Party demonters - the weak reformism as Obama is doing or the religious far right that strikes back... The religions resurrected and then they wer zombies!
In fact it is impossible not to see the poor spiritual state of those people, if we compare their religions in their glory days and the parody of today!

So no future is the strong sensation...

Not exactly the best mental atmosphere for jokes...

Gian Paul said...

Anon, your comment is right to the point. I am tempted to respond - and don't think please that I am joking, the past times (when one could quite normally tell and hear a "good one") were largely brought down by an excess of mind-bending publicity etc.

Some PR guys have sensed it. They tried to get their public back by offering (what they thought) "funny PR spots". Even that did not work anymore - or their humor was not good enough.

And, Pluto in Capricorn may be putting an end to easy promises. Had to think that when a middle class person tells your president that he/she was getting tired to defend him, he/she was not exactly joking...

Gian Paul said...

To Anon: had difficulties with my previous reply, the net here in Brazil is becoming a permanent "joke": Had nevertheless to laugh today when I red the the Pope's chief financial wizard has been indicted for money laundering. And his name is GOTTI. Sounds like another divine appointment the Vatican made!

Twilight said...

You're right, Gian Paul. Good jokes and truly funny humour are becoming harder and harder to find these days, especially in the USA.

I was never a fan of the "nationality" jokes though, but they do present a kind of yardstick, easily identified. Political correctness, necessary as it is, did put a damper on that particular segment of humour.

Looking back, even during World War 2, in Britain, blasted by blitzes, destruction and death, and during the hardships and shortages that followed, people still managed to joke, there were funny radio shows to lift spirits. I can just about remember some of the later ones.

I don't know whether the Brits are as gloomy as Americans now. I'd be sad to think so.

Current transit of Pluto through Capricorn is one place to lay blame, for colouring the "atmosphere" dark and gloomy.
That's going to last a l-o-n-g time!

The younger generation has lost the key to humour it seems. Or maybe it's just that their key doesn't open my door ?

Gian Paul said...

Hi Twilight, its entirely agreed. Times are changing, even regarding humor. In my view much has to do with the way people occupy their minds.

TV probably is to blame, not just for less stuff to laugh, but who knows for the alarming rise of Alzheimer.

(Since we are on the subject: A son living far away from his mother went to visit her after quite some years. He found her in good shape,
except for her mental agility. On his questioning, she replied that she was suffering from that German doctors disease, but couldn't remember his name...)

Astrology Unboxed said...

Hi Gian Paul & Twilight:

I have been thinking about what you both said. The type of humor we are used seems to have disappeared. However, I am wondering if it has not so vanished as changed forms. I am thinking specifically about the success of You Tube and all the videos that have become instant successes by depicting some form of silly slapstick humor.
As for Pluto in Capricorn,I think we will see a transformation of the sort of humor we are used too. Maybe in the way it is distributed (you tube)and the subjects (more about corporations,capitalism, greed and all Plutonian and Capricornian matters). But since Pluto is in Capricorn, I think the transformations will not be readily visible, but more in the Saturnine way (one step forward, one step backward or one step forward, two backwards). But one think is for more, humor as we are used is going to be radically transformed.

Gian Paul said...

Hi Astrology Unboxed/Fabienne: you are right with you-tube etc. It's changing all over the place. There is a writing on an old house in Bamberg (Germany) which I remember (I translate): people always say "times are getting worse", what's taking place is that "times change, but people get stuck". It's better in German because of the rime, of course.