Sunday, November 09, 2008

Oh Yeah....Well, Your Mama Is A Conservative

“Conservatives tend to be happier than liberals in general,” said Dr. Martin, a psychologist at the University of Western Ontario. “A conservative outlook rationalizes social inequality, accepting the world as it is, and making it less of a threat to one’s well-being, whereas a liberal outlook leads to dissatisfaction with the world as it is, and a sense that things need to change before one can be really happy.”
--from "Obama and McCain Walk Into a Bar...", John Tierney, New York Times 11/09/08

A student and I were having a conversation on almost this very topic Friday. Actually, now that I think about it, I was having a conversation with myself about it, while the student looked alternatively perplexed and smirk-laden. I believe the student also used the term "you're strange" at certain points as a form or rebuttal.

More to the point of our/my discussion...does "rationalizes social inequality" equate to optimism or pessimism? And what is meant by "really happy"?

Obviously more French Roast and a very large government grant will be needed to further examine this question. Meanwhile, how can I get this "Dr. Martin" gig at the University of Western Ontario?

P.S.: Maybe it's because I consider myself something of a "liberal", but I don't find the NYT article "joke" below funny.

"If you saw two guys named Hambone and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins the most? I’d say Flippy, wouldn’t you? You’d be wrong, though. It’s Hambone."

Perhaps I need to do a better job of "rationalizing social inequality".


Steve said...

I'm pretty sure the NYT joke was once a "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy" from Saturday Night Live from a few years back. In context and with the correct inflection and a pause at the right moment, its pretty funny.

Anonymous said...

As the light changed from red to green to yellow and back to red again, I sat there thinking about life. Was it nothing more than a bunch of honking and yelling? Sometimes it seemed that way

Steve said...

OK, so I decided to make my own experiment having my advisory students read a series of about 20 "Deep Thoughts" jokes. They read them silently and put check marks next to the ones they thought were funny. At the end they wrote their overall opinion of the jokes. No one thought all of them were funny, but there were some laughing out loud occasionally, and others who just looked confused and said they made no sense at all. After they finished reading them and they seemed "primed", I shared the Hambone/Flippy joke--not one thought it was funny and most thought it made no sense. Even after explaning how it might be considered funny, they thought it was dumb. Granted, they are not the most sophisticated kids around, but my conclusion was that, as jokes go, its not great, and to think it is funny one probably has to have a pretty active imagination--or be a conservative.