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Polish jokes

 
 
Reply Sat 2 Jun, 2007 01:35 pm
I've read about 20 so-called Polish jokes.

http://www.polishjoke.com/polish_joke-index.htm

Many of them concern WWII. Poles and Germans, political chaos in Poland before the war (which is partially true).
It is as if the jokes were to show that weak Poland was stupid in defending itself against the German power. That French-like collaboration would have been more sensible.
In America, you had peace in 1939, peace in 1940 and peace in 1941. Then 3 and a half years of war.
Is Poland blamed for the war in any way?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 15,867 • Replies: 32
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malek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jun, 2007 01:51 pm
Why would Poland be blamed?

Like most other countries in Europe at the time, they failed to modernise their army and build up their air force, to keep pace with the Germans.

When it came to the blitzkrieg, the Polish army was not much more technically advanced than they were during the great war, some twenty years earlier.

Poland also just happened to be in the wrong geographical location, as not only did they have Hitler wanting to expand the Reich from the west, they also had big Joe Stalin wanting a large slice of the territorial cake in the east.

The Poles that managed to get to Britain seemed to make straight for an armed service in order to join up and fight. It's well known that the Polish servicemen absolutely hated the Nazis, and did everything in their power to get at them and kill as many as possible.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jun, 2007 01:55 pm
No, Americans don't blame Poland for the Second World War. The claim would be rather naive with respect to how Americans reacted to international events in the late 1930s and in the 1940s. Many Americans at one time admired Hitler and the NSDAP. Even after the beginning of the war in Europe, many (and probably most) Americans did not want to become involved in yet another European war in a generation--there was little sympathy for the participants among the American public. American attention was already focused, to a limited extent, on the Pacific rim. Japan had been embargoed after the invasion of Manchuria, and most Americans were, at least vaguely, aware that we were drifting into war with Japan.

Japan attacked the United States on December 7th, 1941 (based on American time zones). Germany declared war on the United States within a few days. Americans were prepared to go to war after that, and if the Germans were stupid enough to declare war on the United States, they'd take them on, as well. But American focus was on the Pacific war, not the one in Europe. Recently, in 1994, there was a fifty year observance of the invasion of Europe in Normany in June, 1944. Many Americans, especially veterans of the war in the Pacific, resented the focus on Europe and Normandy. After all, the United States Marines paid higher prices to invade islands in the Pacific than the Americans, English, French and Canadians combined paid to invade Normandy. Many Americans then publicly asked why the European theater should get so much attention, and the Pacific war be ignored--when the greater cost in lives and material was spent in the Pacific. It is a reasonable attitude.

Soon, it won't matter, though, because the World War Two generation is dying off. But no, i don't think there is anyone in America who blames Poland for World War II.

To Americans, Polish jokes are usually considered to be in poor taste, because in America, Polish jokes are usually based on a suggestion that Poles are stupid. I don't know of any commonly retailed Polish jokes which referred to politics or the war in Europe. Since the late 1960s, jokes which are seen as racist in character, or which rely upon ethnic stereotypes, are no longer tolerated in "polite" society.
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literarypoland
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jun, 2007 02:59 am
Poland was a young country in 1939, after just 21 years of American-backed independence. Earlier it had been occupied (for 123 years!) by Russia, Prussia and Austria. There had been three major uprisings against the Russians, who had the east with Warsaw. Poland emerged in 1918 as a patriotic republic similar to Ireland. That's why there were almost no collaborators here, and real fighting.
5 million Poles died in the war, 3 million of them Jewish.
My great-grandfather (not Jewish) was gassed in Auschwitz after 3 years there.
I have recently read about anti-Jewish pogroms (Wikipedia: Pogrom) and they seem to be a Ukrainian thing, or rather generally tzarist-Russian.
Though it can't be denied that in the years after Hitler's rise to power the de facto military dictatorship in Poland maintained quite friendly relations with Germany (Mussolini-like) and that there was an anti-Jewish party here (England-like). However, these people were not ready to become collaborators and many were murdered by Germans.
syntinen
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Jun, 2007 10:43 am
The "Polish joke" in America is part of an international genre of ethnic jokes against whatever ethnic group is locally perceived as stupid. Similar jokes - very often the exact same jokes - are told in the Netherlands and France against the Belgians, in England against the Irish, in the Czech Republic against the Slovaks, and in Ireland against Kerrymen (the inhabitants of Kerry, a very rural county in the southwest of Ireland).
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Jun, 2007 10:46 am
Kerryman makes it in the big city, and when he goes home to visit, he uses some of his new wealth to make improvements in the house. A few days after he gets back to his apartment, he gets a phone call from his mother, who mentions that she had to have the washing machine removed.

"Washing machine? What washing machine?"

"You know, the one you put in the water closet. Every time i tried to wash your Da's small clothes, they disappeared down the drain."
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Jun, 2007 11:27 am
Re: Polish jokes
literarypoland wrote:
I've read about 20 so-called Polish jokes.

http://www.polishjoke.com/polish_joke-index.htm

Many of them concern WWII.

That's odd. I read about 20 of those so-called jokes, and none of them concerned World War II. The only one that even came close was this one:
    Question: How do you stop a Polish army on horseback? Answer: Turn off the carousel.

Which isn't nearly as funny as German Chancellor Willy Brandt's joke about Italian tanks having one gear in forward and five in reverse.
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ironaxe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jun, 2007 11:41 pm
Or...
What do you call a posh American?

A Canadian! Laughing
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jun, 2007 03:40 am
The Poles get us back.

What lives in America and has an IQ of 160?

Chicago.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jun, 2007 05:32 am
Letty wrote:
The Poles get us back.

What lives in America and has an IQ of 160?

Chicago.


Letty, Chicago is one of the largest Polish cities in the world. That's a Polish joke.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jun, 2007 10:31 am
Oops, Setanta. I was up too early and didn't properly polish my glasses. That's what I get for being politically correct.

We all know that Frederic Chopin was Polish, and I adore his Fantasy Impromptu, so I hope that I have vindicated myself somewhat. Revoluntionary etude is powerful as well.

Just found out that there is only one photo of the man.

Now back to the reason for Polish jokes.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jun, 2007 11:06 am
literarypond, all my grandparents were born in Poland. I've heard enough Polish jokes to last a few lifetimes.

As setanta said, telling Polish jokes is considered poor taste, they are always about lack of intelligence, or poor personal hygiene.

I resent that.

I have never heard anyone indicate they thought the Poles were responsible for WWII, in fact, I once read a reason why when the Poles got the reputation of being stupid and dirty. I don't know if it's true, but it makes sense to me.

From what I remember reading.....The Irish were in the first wave of immigrants to the U.S. and were looked down upon by many.

The 2nd wave were the Italians, and the Irish had someone even lower down on the totem pole.

Then, the Poles followed....Giving both the Irish and the Italians fodder.

This is just me, but this is what I experienced growing up...

I will honestly say I never had a close Irish friend, but enjoyed very much spending time with Italians.

Not so much the kids my age, but the parents of the Irish gave off a vibe that they thought they were superior, and perhaps I was not quite "good enough" for their children to play with. To me as a child, the grown ups were more stiff and ready to scowl at me for being improper, which was a joke in itself, since their kids were usually more wild than me.

Here's an example...as a teenager, like 17 or even 18....I gave my somewhat friend Colleen O'Brien a funny birthday card...in it, it read..

Birthdays come but once a year...........Just be glad you're not a birthday

Lame I know, but for a almost adult, it was wickedly funny. Mrs. O'Brien took one look, and looked at me like she wanted to kill (which was funny also, since Colleen was rather...ahem...loose)

about 25 years later, at my fathers funeral, Mrs. O'Brien still wouldn't talk to me, and didn't even offer her condolences........what a bitch.

The Italians on the other hand, were warm, fun loving, sometimes risk taking and had really good food.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jun, 2007 11:09 am
Letty wrote:
and didn't properly polish my glasses.



Is that supposed to be some kind of Polish joke letty?

I didn't come here to be subjected to this kind of cruelty.


(Totally Kidding) Laughing
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jun, 2007 11:18 am
The English language is weird, Chai. There have been many jokes made about us 'Mericans, too, and I think our Polish friend understands that.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jun, 2007 11:28 am
Letty wrote:
The English language is weird, Chai. There have been many jokes made about us 'Mericans, too, and I think our Polish friend understands that.



um....yeah?

what did I just say to prompt that?

I'm sure literarypond knows the word polish/Polish are 2 different words and pronounced differently....I was making a joke.

My post illustrates how I don't believe Americans think Poland started WWII, and what I believe a more rational explanation is.

Did I miss something Letty?
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jun, 2007 11:38 am
No, honey. I knew you were joking. Perhaps my response should have been via a telephone pole. Razz
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jun, 2007 11:42 am
phhtfffffttt - snort.
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literarypoland
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jul, 2007 01:04 am
Poland has 38 million people, but further 10 million live abroad. Mainly in the US, recently England has become another such center.

In England, only about 2% of them work at brain jobs. Even if they get the lowest possible salary there, it's four times more than they would earn here. So a worker in England, especially in construction, earns much more than doctors, civil servants, teachers here, almost as much as an MP (a Representative). An unhealthy situation.

So we know that Poles work with their hands abroad, and there are two theories as to those who leave: are they especially gifted and energetic individuals or misfits. Probably both these kinds.

But there is also this glass ceiling which you can't surpass in a developed economy: the language barrier and some informal blockades.

Poland has had its share of world-famous people, and we don't have any complexes in this respect. As to Polish jokes, after one example a Pole may laugh, after several such jokes we get offended.
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Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Aug, 2007 02:53 pm
Don't agree with me, but my belief is, that here in the U.S., the feeling that Poles are not up there on the social scale is because there seems to be a pecking order of sorts amongst Caucasians.

Highest on the scale are "in" WASP's (that I read is a sociological term, "in" groups, and "out" groups), such as Episcopaleans, Presbyterians, Dutch Reformed. Methodists seem to have moved up (Hillary Clinton, Pres. Bush). "Out" WASP's are the Born Agains, and the Baptists and Lutherans. But, as Protestants they are still higher on some social scale than the ethnic Catholics. And then amongst the ethnic Catholics, there are those ethnicities that are in the country long enough to have become honorary WASP's in many instances, such as Irish and Germans.

The thing, I believe, with Poles is that, as Slavic, they are just not part of that western European historically dominant group. It is hard to overcome one's history, I believe. I think even some Hungarians in the U.S. might want to be considered like Austrians, not Slavs, which I thought they are. The word Slav has inferior connotations unfortunately, regardless of the Russians getting Sputnik up before the U.S. got a satellite in orbit.

By the way, this social pecking order correlates to northern Protestant Europe, and after that Catholics from northern Europe. Southern Europe is not high in any U.S. social scale, unless one is wealthy, or claims some lineage to aristocracy or something along that line (like owning much land somewhere).

Jews in the U.S. have a few of their own social hierarchies (based on whether one is Sephardic, Eastern European, or German Jewish), I believe. It might have to do with where one's ancestors came from and when. Also, level of one's education, and probably one's wealth. Jews of German ancestry, at least in the past, felt socially superior to their Slavic brethren, I believe.

I like sociology; have done some related reading over the years, but it's really not a science in the same sense as chemistry. I believe much is open to interpretation. So, all of the above should just be taken as somewhere between fact and opinion. Some might even agree with the above, based on their own observations.
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Aug, 2007 03:04 pm
I never had any notion of any of this pecking order growing up in rural California. Pretty much everybody was poor or lower middle-class white trash, and the origin of anybody's name didn't matter. There were a lot of Polish jokes among the kids, but none of us really knew or cared where our ancestors came from -- it was just an abstract minor transgression as far as we were concerned. Jokes about bigotries that we actually had some experience with -- anti-black, anti-Mexican, anti-gay -- were rarer and heavier entities.

When I moved to Chicago, I wasn't too surprised about the white-brown-black racism I saw, but I thought I was in a time warp when I heard people blithely spitting hatred about Polacks or Germans.

Granted, I'm pretty sure some of the old Ukrainian women in my neighborhood muttered curses after me when I walked by.
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