Joke – University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

--Informant Info--
Nationality:
Age: 18
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: March 1, 2007
Primary Language:
Other Language(s):

Lawyer joke

My friend Samantha Telly is a member of the pre law fraternity of the University of Southern California chapter.  One night we got in to a discussion about how she wants to be a lawyer when she is older.  I asked her why she would want to be a lawyer, they have such bad reputations.  Lawyers are known to be stubborn, mean, and aggressive people.  After I told her this, she laughed, saying that her pledge class had, the day before, been discussing lawyer jokes they had heard.  Samantha told me, what she thought was the funniest joke told.

Samantha:   “What is the difference between lawyers and terrorists?”

Me:      “What”

Samantha:      “You can negotiate with terrorists”

I found this joke to be very interesting.  Like most jokes, this particular one, is about a specific group of people.  There are Hispanic jokes, Jewish jokes, and even lawyer jokes.  Also, ironically these types of jokes are always told by the group that they are about.  Blonds, tend to get the biggest laugh when they are together telling blond jokes.  Moreover, Samantha heard this lawyer joke when she was amongst people who potentially want to be lawyers.  The reason why the blonds, the Hispanics, or the lawyers make jokes about themselves, and then tell those jokes to other people in their same group, or folk, is because it is a safe environment.  It is a safe environment to make fun of the stereotypes that have been created about them.

To be more focused on this specific lawyer joke, which compares lawyers and terrorists, is even more interesting, and gives us a unique insight not only into the lawyer folk group but also the “American people folk group”.  After September 11 the United States has become very interested by terrorists, there is always a lot of talk about them; therefore, jokes have developed.  Again, because terrorism is such a frightening idea, Americans have created jokes about terrorism to lighten the mood, and maybe make terrorism seem like less of a reality.  This joke implies that in fact, lawyers are worse then terrorists because you can at least negotiate with terrorists, but lawyers are much more difficult to deal with.

In conclusion, this lawyer joke is a prime example of why jokes are created, and it also give us a unique insight into our beliefs and our culture.