The Legal History Blog's extensive research has uncovered a shocking finding: Historians are not funny. No one seems to think so. Google, who of course knows everything, turns up virtually nothing. Historians themselves mulled over the absence of historian jokes on History News Network four years ago, and, well, Ralph Luker noted that the paltry results were, in a word, "lame." Historians have apparently been too embarrassed to take up the subject since.
Lawyers, of course have a corner on the market. What about others? Economists don't seem particularly jolly. But there are countless websites devoted to compilations of economist jokes. What's so funny about economists? How about this:
Man walking along a road in the countryside comes across a shepherd and a huge flock of sheep. Tells the shepherd, "I will bet you $100 against one of your sheep that I can tell you the exact number in this flock." The shepherd thinks it over; it's a big flock so he takes the bet. "973," says the man. The shepherd is astonished, because that is exactly right. Says "OK, I'm a man of my word, take an animal." Man picks one up and begins to walk away. "Wait," cries the shepherd, "Let me have a chance to get even. Double or nothing that I can guess your exact occupation." Man says sure. "You are an economist for a government think tank," says the shepherd. "Amazing!" responds the man, "You are exactly right! But tell me, how did you deduce that?" "Well," says the shepherd, "put down my dog and I will tell you."
For the source, click here. More economist humor is here and here.
In the end, it seems there is only one sort of joke about historians. Found here , here, here. It is: How many historians does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but to tell anyone else about it you need an entire department: the historian of science to describe the development of electricity; the economic historian to describe the rise of power companies and disposable lightbulbs; the environmental historian to talk about the relationship between replacement bulbs and landfill issues; the political historian to describe the decision-making process in lightbulb replacement; and the social historian to argue about whether more lightbulbs are replaced by women or by men. Graduate students are working on the incandescent-fluorescent issue, but no publications yet.
Or this version:
Q. How many revisionist historians does it take to change a light bulb? A. In actual fact, against popular consensus, the light bulb was never actually changed.
But since historians are not funny, perhaps it would be better to close this Special Edition of the Legal History Blog with political humor. Q: How many Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: None. There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; it's condition is improving every day. Any reports of it's lack of incandescence are totally unfounded, and the result of delusional "spin" assaults from the fanatic, elitist, liberal media. That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect and dims it's ego. Why do you hate freedom?
The Legal History Blog would like to thank Mark Graber, Eric Talley and John Fabian Witt, who collaborated on the April 1 Special Edition. Special thanks to Bill for technical assistance. All errors of judgment are, of course, mine.