I just tried to explain a joke to Leif. It's a pretty good one in my opinion.
A rabbi, a priest and a minister walk into a bar. The bartender says, "What is this, a joke?"
I couldn't find the words to say that there are hundreds of jokes that start out with a rabbi, a priest and a minister doing something together and the joke is their religious differences affect their world view. What made this funny was that it wasn't about the rabbi, priest or minister but about the fact that there are hundreds of jokes told about them. A full minute after my explanation started he smiled and said, "Oh, I get it." I don't think he does. I think he just said that to get me to stop talking.
It's times like these that I realize how limited we are by language and experiences, and how much we have to learn about each other and our respective cultures . There are few Americans who would need this joke explained. Well, I know a few people but they shall remain nameless. I grew up in a house where jokes never get old, they are told over and over again. I just assumed that Swedes also tell jokes about rabbis, priests and ministers. I was wrong. So I asked what was to me the next logical question.
Do Swedes have comedians or tell jokes? ( I think now would be the appropriate time to remind you that there are no stupid questions)
Yes, along with the raised eyebrow he told me that of course they do. But it's more of a "thinking humor." More British.
Aaahh...I have no idea what that means. Maybe he was implying that American humor requires little thought. Maybe he was saying that Swedish humor requires a superior intellect. Maybe he was saying that Swedes like to work for their laughs, while Americans just like to laugh. I have no idea. Obviously we need to explore this topic of humor a little more thoroughly from both cultural viewpoints. I'm kind of afraid that in Swedish I'm going to be that person who needs to have jokes explained.