|Joe the plumber
||[Oct. 16th, 2008|07:31 am]
My brother Steve told me a joke once that I found not particularly funny and annoying: A plumber knocks on the door, and a parrot says "who is it?" The plumber says "It's the plumber, I've come to fix the sink." This exchange repeats several times, with the plumber getting increasingly frustrated. Finally the plumber is so enraged, he dies on the spot of a heart attack. The person who lives with the parrot comes home, and cries out in shock at the sight of the dead plumber and cries, "Who is it?" and the parrot says "It's the plumber, and he's here to fix the sink."|
Anyway that's what last night's debate felt like. McCain sounded awful to me. I actually spent time right before the debate making calls with Sean for Obama, so I can't claim any great objectivity, but after about a half hour it looked like the main thing on McCain's mind was how big the scotch he wanted to have afterwards would be.
Listening to my son Sean make calls to undecided voters before the debate sensitized me to the boilerplate that both candidates fall back on. Sean basically has all of Obama's stump speech talking points memorized, and can deliver them with sincerity and animation over the phone. Obama has that talent as well but I've heard some of his lines so many times I can hear the first few words and sing along for the rest of the phrase.
I'll sure be glad when this is all over.
I don't get the parrot joke.
Haha. You don't get how it's funny, or you don't get how it's supposed to be funny? I didn't actually tell it, I described it.
The joke is that the parrot was trained to say "Who's there?" when someone is at the door. The plumber apparently thinks that the parrot is a person, and is so frustrated by the fact that no one opens the door for him that he drops dead. But in the act of repeating "It's the plumber, I'm hear to fix the sink" he has taught the parrot a new phrase, which the parrot repeats when it's owner returns to find a dead plumber at the door.
To be all post-modern on you: there is a displacement between the rote repetition of language and with the plumber's desire for the raw sound of "Who is it?" to be reified by the concrete action of the (imagined) person behind the door, to open the fucking door. Then, the owner of the parrot returns, and the rote repetition, language-as-pure-sound of the parrot acquires a real semantic content accidentally, by describing the dead plumber.
One can also speculate that there is a counterfactual implied volitional intelligence to the parrot, which could add humor to the situation. I.e. the parrot is fucking with the plumber, and furthermore takes some sadistic pride in the homicide-by-refusing-to-satisfy-expectations of the plumber.
It's also funnier, but if anything even more annoying, when my brother delivers this joke, imitating the voice of the parrot and delivering the plumber's lines in a Brooklyn accent.
And to go back to the original topic of this post, consider the way Sarah Palin seems to parrot the talking points she's briefed on, contrasted with the soul-sucking emptiness you see in her eyes.
Um, I got the mechanics of the joke, but I didn't think it was funny?
However, your dissection of the joke was quite funny :)
but the parrot says "he's come to fix the sink" rather than "i". which implies that his real meaning isn't accidental at all as you suggest, but intentional, which implies that his fucking with the plumber was malicious and, in fact, murderous. that's why it's funny. animals maliciously fucking with people is funny.