Warning: Don’t read this if political correctness is your prime objective.
In a land not far away the radical right, left and in between all demand the power to censor language, humor and life by filtering out anything that could possibly be offensive to anyone. However, the country was not always so disapproving. There were frantic eras of economic challenge, prohibition, and war. During those times an attitude prevailed dictating: Anything goes for a laugh. The old brand of humor was usually disrespectful and in poor taste. A lot of the rankling ridiculousness and questionable wit was preserved for posterity on postcards. Today some folks think its funny the jokes were ever considered funny. Although, an odd charm in the national naiveté can be appreciated without making the viewer feel excessively guilty.
Some of the most frequent targets of humor were women, relationships, sex, race, religion, culture, politics and, well, everything. Insensitive, of course, but the jokes of the day were dedicated to equality: they made fun of everyone—every nationality, gender, profession and age. All were fair game.
Anatomy dictates that everyone should come equipped with a posterior, but butt jokes were sure to cause riotous laughter; the bigger the fanny the funnier it seemed.
The “farmer’s daughter” was another topic that never ceased to amuse. From the 1920s through the 1940s these jokes were prime material to be printed on postcards, often in cartoon style using brilliant colors.
One of the postcards in the accompanying series depicts a typical and often repeated phrase: “she’s built like a brick out house.” Outhouse was not exactly the word used.
It would seem that grammar school jokes survived into adulthood, and that mankind maintained a simple innocence, or ignorance, well into the 20th century. This mind set finally began to change in the aftermath of World War II and the civil rights movement.
Looking at what people found entertaining years ago can lead to understanding our own evolution or lack thereof.
Most of the unmailed postcards in this series were found in an old drugstore being torn down. The cards were almost overlooked, still stored in the original dirty, dusty shipping boxes.
Politically correct mores kind of float, changing from one moment to the next, rather like foods that are some days good and some days not so good for the constitution.
Sensitivity is good; fanaticism is not. So keep that in mind when you view the accompanying postcards. By current standards they are outrageously sexist; yesterday they were a laughing matter.
Funny or not—crude or not—that’s the way it was; and you can’t make the past politically correct.