What we’re laughing at this week.
Jewish jokes are a precious commodity and a special part of our heritage. Some of the best ones are worth looking at as succinct and entertaining expressions of our values. William Novak, co-editor of The Big Book of Jewish Humor, in print since 1981, explores some of the values behind the jokes and how they can be treated as secular Jewish texts. From well-known classics to relatively obscure examples, there is some history, commentary and plenty of laughs.
B.F. Pierce is a brilliantly developed, multifaceted character, perhaps best analyzed by M.A.S.H.’s Army psychiatrist, the Jewish Dr. Sydney Friedman (played by Alan Arbus). The doctor’s observation that “while anger turned inward becomes depression, anger turned sideways is Hawkeye Pierce.”