9/11 Joke Washington, D.C.
Person A: Knock, knock.
Person B: Whos there?
Person A: You said youd never forget!
This joke references the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. During that time and for years after, the phrase, We will never forget came to define the tragedy. It became a unifying American idea that while we will move on as a country, we will never forget the lives lost on that horrific day.
This joke is a spin-off of the classic knock-knock joke, which always follows the format:
When the audience member asks, Whos there? the jokester plays off of the question, pretending to be hurt that he or she forgot 9/11.
This joke can arguably both assert and insult the American identity. If a person from another country heard this joke, he or she probably wouldnt understand the reference, and assume Person B forgot who Person A was. Therefore, only an American can participate in this joke. However, it mocks the tendency of future-oriented America to disregard/forget her past.
Lucy learned this joke seven years ago in D.C. from a friend, whom she says tells many morbid jokes. She does not find the joke insulting because, in her words, it stretches the boundaries with what we can make fun of. She thinks people shouldnt be scared of being politically incorrect. I think its hilarious, she said, noting that there is nothing worse than mindless good taste.
While I think this joke carries an important commentary on America, Im not ready to tell and laugh at 9/11 jokes. Seven years later, that memory is still fresh in my memory. However, I agree with Lucy that people shouldnt be afraid of being politically correct, but only if the situation calls for it.