It’s been a long time since I heard a joke like this, and I’m quite sure it wasn’t one told in public by a senior administration official before a high-minded audience. This joke was delivered by Obama administration National Security Advisor James Jones before an audience at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy:
A Taliban militant gets lost and is wandering around the desert looking for water. He finally arrives at a store run by a Jew and asks for water. The Jewish vendor tells him he doesn’t have any water but can gladly sell him a tie. The Taliban, the jokes goes on, begins to curse and yell at the Jewish storeowner. The Jew, unmoved, offers the rude militant an idea: Beyond the hill, there is a restaurant; they can sell you water. The Taliban keeps cursing and finally leaves toward the hill. An hour later he’s back at the tie store. He walks in and tells the merchant: “Your brother tells me I need a tie to get into the restaurant.”
In the video posted at Yid with Lid, the joke draws the guffaws of the crowd, but the blog cites two unamused comments from those in attendance.
Depending on the source and the circumstances and the telling, I don’t mind ethnic humor. I don’t find this joke coming from General Jones funny in the least, and I seriously doubt that many of his colleagues in the administration do either. Considering the source and the circumstances, I find it disgusting, but revealing. Watching the video, I find it more bizarre than disgusting. YwithL is to be congratulated for submitting the video to public attention.
JOHN adds: Here’s the video:
Whether the joke is funny is a matter of taste and context. In the setting in which Jones told it, it strikes me as bizarrely inappropriate.