USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘plane’
Digital
Legends
Narrative

Story of racism on plane

The story goes, which my informant learned from a friend sharing the story on facebook, an old white woman got angry that she was seated next to a black man. She kept getting upset, yelling at the flight attendant as the other passengers looked on in horror, no one saying anything. The flight attendant told the woman the only other option was to be seated in first class and then solves the woman’s problem… by moving the black passenger to first class. Everybody on the plane then started cheering, it is said. The story was one many of her friends were posting on facebook just a few months ago, and it had many thousands of likes.

My informant thought it was cool that facebook to quickly spread such a story, and she liked the story because it was inspiring. I think it’s interesting because of how it perverts expectations. It makes you angry and you want to keep reading to see what happens because it has evoked an emotion from you, and then, because you are already in an emotional state, it is able to flip the anger into joy when the unexpected occurs. We are so happy to see justice in the story then we have a greater attachment to the story. In an age of information where there are millions of stories at your fingertips, we seem more interested in those that are different or more complex (i.e. here the story flips expectations). The story may not be true, but because it is heartwarming, people like it anyway and may even want it to be true more.

Humor
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

Joke – Dumb Blonde on a Plane

Joke – Dumb Blonde on a Plane

“There’s two blonde girls on a plane together… they’re friends. The pilot comes on the intercom and says, ‘we have lost an engine, but don’t worry we have three more. We will just be an hour later to our destination.’ A little while later, the pilot comes on again and says, ‘attention passengers, we have lost another engine, but it’s okay, we have two more, we’ll just be another hour later.’ They sit for a while longer, and once again the pilot comes on and says, ‘we have lost another engine, but don’t worry, we still have one more. We’re just going to be yet another hour later.’ At this, the blonde girl looks at her friend and says, ‘wow, I hope we don’t lose that last engine or we’ll be up here all night!’”

The informant doesn’t really remember where she first heard this joke, but says it was years ago and probably at school. Although blonde jokes seem to stem from a stereotype that is often associated with blonde women from California, the informant is from Texas, and also blonde. She made it very clear that she is not offended by blonde jokes, and knows she is “smarter than most people who tell blonde jokes.” She doesn’t really understand where this stereotype that blonde women are less intelligent came from, but she finds these jokes funny, and knows many of them. The informant did mention that she has noticed that the stereotype does not usually apply to blonde men, which gives the stereotype a sexist aspect. Although these jokes have existed for years, the informant attributes their popularity to the media and “dumb blonde celebrities,” such as Jessica Simpson and Playboy Playmates.
I agree with the informant that recent depictions of blonde women in the media live up to this stereotype, which only strengthens the stereotype and leads to the further dissemination of these jokes. The most vivid example that really went down in “pop culture” history is from MTV’s reality television show, “The Newlyweds,” where Jessica Simpson was depicted as a shallow, dumb blonde, saying things like, “is it chicken or is it fish?” (referring to the Chicken of the Sea tuna fish brand). This one statement still lives on in popular culture’s representations of blonde women, and only helps perpetuate this stereotype and this form of humor.

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