Tag Archives: bill clinton

Bill Clinton and the Nine Horse Mountain

Informant (N) is a 53 y/o Chinese woman who is a first-generation immigrant to the US and has lived in the US for around 23 years.

I: Can you tell me about the story about 九马画山 (jiu ma huà shān) we heard by the tour guide when we visited Guilin?

N: (trans.) The Nine Horse Mountain’s rock face has a lot of plants and colors, which is why it’s known as 画山. Legend has it that on this mountain you can “see” nine horses on the rock face, and it’s said that the more horses you can see, the farther that person will go in terms of accomplishments. When President Bill Clinton visited Guilin, he was very excited to see the mountain, but when he got there he wasn’t able to see a single horse, which is saying he’s not very bright.

九马画山的石壁不是有各种植物,颜色啊,所以就称为画山。在这座石壁上呢,传说是能看出九匹马,看得越多人就走的越远,也说越成就。说是Bill Clinton去桂林旅游的时候,他很期待去看这座山,但一到的时候一匹马都看不出,就说他很笨。

I: Why is it that he’s not very bright?

N: (trans.) You can at least see one horse in the mountain, but he couldn’t even see one. But of course, seeing horses is really just saying the person has a vivid imagination.



This conversation took place over the phone. The original performance of this folklore was given by a tour guide while on a boat on the [] River.


The story my informant tells me is a legend, a narrative that is based in the real world but isn’t necessarily factual—both Bill Clinton and the mountain exist, but the number of horses he saw is highly debated. This legend also acts as a subtle dig towards Clinton, which, given the fact that the original performance was in Chinese and given by someone Chinese, makes reasonable sense. Placing a person of importance in such a location also gives the location a heightened sense of fame, making it more alluring to international tourists and participate in the legend (counting the horses on the rock face), which is how belief in this legend also continues.

Bill Clinton and the Pope Joke

Context: The informant was in the midst of telling his favorite jokes at a party

Piece: “Okay… so… by chance Bill Clinton and the Pope die on the same day, and due to some clerical screw up, Bill Clinton is sent to Heaven and the Pope is sent to Hell. And the Pope’s like nah this ain’t right. So he goes to the… uh… the administration folk and goes and says look I’m the Pope I shouldn’t be here and they’re like oh… we must’ve made a mistake we’ll get that fixed, it’ll take us a day— we’ll get it fixed. So, the next day.. uh the old Pope is walking up the uh pearly white steps and Bill Clinton is walking down and uh they stop, they shake hands, they say hello and uh Clinton says, ‘So, uh father what are you looking forward to most in heaven?’ and the Pope says, ‘Uh, I don’t know, I guess one thing I’ve always wanted to do is meet the Virgin Mary.’ Clinton says, ‘Ah, missed her by a day.”

Background: The informant, a 20 year old student at Harvard, found this joke on Reddit and believes this is one of his best jokes. He enjoys telling jokes to his friends and family.

Analysis:This joke is compelling and intriguing because it combines two radically different public figures in an absurd scenario. The joke plays on Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, insinuating that he has sex with everyone and would even have sex with the Virgin Mary. This piece reflects how American culture views Bill Clinton as untrustworthy and has sex with all women. By putting religion, and such a holy figure in Christianity as the Virgin Mary, this joke further pokes at how Bill Clinton lacks boundaries and respect. The audience recognizes that Clinton has conducted this behavior before and it is ironic that he would do it again, especially in Heaven, where non-sinners (unlike Clinton) would go.

Japanese President and Bill Clinton

Transcribed Text:

“When Bill Clinton was in office, the Japanese president wanted to..um… invite him over and meet him. However, the Japanese president couldn’t speak a word of English at all, so he asked his advisers how to greet him when he sees him. His advisers tell him to say ‘how are you’ and when Bill Clinton replies, with ‘fine,’ he should say ‘me too.’ The Japanese president makes sure to learn these, and when he finally meets Bill Clinton, he goes up to him and says ‘who are you’ instead of ‘how are you’ because he did not understand what he was saying. Bill Clinton replies with ‘I’m Bill Clinton. I’m Hillary Clinton’s husband.’ The Japanese president then, without understanding him, replies ‘me too.'”

The informant is a housewife and and currently resides in Cupertino, California. She first learned about this joke when she was watching a Tamil version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The host told this joke on the show and ever since then, the informant has not stopped laughing when she thinks about the joke. She thinks that the joke is extremely funny because of the mistake that the Japanese president makes when he tries to speak English. She also says that she has heard that this joke has become viral on Japanese websites, where some are trying to get Japanese people to become more educated about the English language so that they won’t make mistakes like this.

It is interesting how this joke is told in a way to create humor, but is also used to teach about the importance of learning English in Japanese culture. While English is a mandatory language to learn for Japanese people in middle and high school, many people are still very illiterate in the language. It is interesting how the informant says that she heard that this joke was being sent around on Japanese websites to teach Japanese people to become more literate in a language that is very prominent in this world today. It shows how much importance many people put on the education in the language, especially in Japan.