This joke was provided by Monique Warren, 20. She considers herself “black” and is a student at the University of Southern California, studying Environmental Engineering. Monique learned this joke from one of her roommates. I collected it from her during a conversation in my apartment, but she most recently shared this joke at dinner with several friends from an engineering class.
Okay. So, Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, a kid are all in an airplane when the pilot comes out and is like, “It looks like the plane is gonna crash.” And then he’s like, “But we only have three parachutes and there’s four of us.” So Hillary stands up, grabs one of the parachutes, and says, “I’m the most powerful woman in the world. The world needs me.” And so she like puts on the parachute and jumps out. Then Bill Gates grabs a parachute and is like, “I’m the smartest man in the world. The world needs me.” And he jumps out too. Then the pilot turns the kid and says, “I’ve had a good life. You take the third parachute.” And the kid’s like, “That’s okay. The smartest man in the world just took my backpack.”
This joke seems to make a comment on people who presume that the world needs them due to this quality or that. While many variations exist, it is interesting that one of the characters is Hillary Clinton. In many other cases, the cast is all male. Consequently, this joke is in part making a statement about power-hungry women. Also, during the Bush administration, George W. Bush took one of the parachutes in many cases. Perhaps, due to the racial sensitivities attached to Obama, it is safer to use Hillary instead. In addition, this joke has some 1% undertones to it, since the person who took the wrong parachute was Bill Gates, the wealthiest man in the world. In his case, his wealth did not save him.