Shock Horror: Folklore of Disaster 7

SHOCK HORROR: The Folklore of Disaster


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© Warren Fahey

[page 7]

Understandably the airlines feature in many jokes. Despite millions of dollars spent on advertising campaigns that tells us they are ‘floating luxury hotels’ it is apparent many of us still fear flying. It doesn’t make sense being up in the skies in a big metal bus and folklore has a habit of reinforcing such doubts through humour. The fact remains that four regular passenger aeroplanes were hijacked for the USA attacks with two hitting the World Trade Centre Towers, one hitting the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. and the fourth crashing in Pennsylvania; apparently the passengers forced the airline down to avoid a major collision.

Q: What is the quickest way to the World Trade Centre?
A: United Airlines.

Q: Did you hear American Airlines is now offering a new service?
A: Sightseeing tours of Manhattan!

Q: Did you hear about the hot dog seller who was dug out of the rubble after several days buried in the basement?
A: His first words to the rescuers were “Who ordered the two Jumbos?”

Q: Did you hear that American Airlines has introduced a new service?
A: They drop you off at the office.

Q: What is world most efficient airline?
A: American Airlines, leave Boston 8:15…be in your office in New York 8:48!

American Airline’s pilot announcement:
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be landing on New York in about 10

“It’s a bird!”
“It’s a plane!”
“It’s…. Oh fuck, it IS a plane!”

Q: What color were the pilot’s eyes?
A: Blue. One blew this way the other blew that way

Q: What should have tipped off the ticket sellers?
A: When the terrorists asked if there was anything cheaper than one-way.

Q: What team does a United Airlines pilot support?
A: The New York Jets

Q: What’s the number one drink served on United Airlines?
A: Flaming Manhattan

Famous last words: airline pilot “Right a bit, hey, the World Trade Centre, my
brother works there…lets look just a bit closer….”

(insert: 74/disc 5. WTC puzzle)

Black or sick jokes about airline disasters are not new and, as a folklore comparison, soon after the ill-fated Concorde disaster on July 25, 2000, the following jokes were collected in oral circulation:

It took them eighty years since World War I, but the French finally figured out how to kill Germans.

Q: Did you hear they have new Concorde schedules from Air France?
A: Depart Paris CDG 1700 > Arrive Hotel Gonesse 1703

Q: What would the captain of the plane be doing today if he hadn’t been killed?
A: Scratching weakly at the inside of his body bag.

Q: Why do wealthy German tourists love the Hotel Gonesse.
A: Because they can drop in at any time.

Q: How many wealthy German tourists can fit into a VW Bug?
A: 100. Four in the seats, 96 in the ashtray.

Another airline crash at Mount Erebus, New Zealand, resulted in:

Q: What’s tall, white and kills Kiwis?
A: Mount Erebus.

The skyline of New York has obviously changed since the twin towers have fallen and many of the jokes concern New York in general. It is interesting to speculate how many of these jokes were accepted by New Yorkers as their own. I say this knowing that New York has a particular sense of humour as opposed, for example, to West Coast or Mid-West humour. It might possibly have something to do with the city’s perceived ‘Jewishness’ and its history for seeing the perverse side of humour. Another factor in the early distribution of humour is that the people directly involved in Ground Zero rescue work discovered that humour was a vital ingredient for their own well being. Rescue workers shared such humour amongst themselves, but were understandably reluctant to tell such jokes to any other group, including members of their immediate family. The rule appears to be that we need a period of ‘closure’ before we deem humour associated with tragedy to be acceptable.

Q: What does WTC stand for?
A: What Trade Center?

Q: How many WTC employees does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Just one but he can do all 110 floors in 6 seconds.

Q: How do you get to the 50th floor of the World Trade Centre?
A: By subway.

Q: What happened to the World Trade Centre?
A: The FBI were looking for a couple of hijackers…

Q: How long does it take to reach the ground from 107 stories up?
A: The rest of your life

Q: What was the last thing going through Mr. Jones head while sitting in his 90th floor office at the WTC ?
A: The 91st floor.

Q: What was the last thing going through Mr. Smith’s head sitting in 110th floor of the WTC ?
A: The radio mast.

Q: What’s the difference between Wembley and New York?
A: Wembley’s still got their twin towers.

Did you here that Australia square has moved up two places on
the world’s highest building list?

Q: What do you call a New York dust storm?
A: Trade winds.

Q: What’s the area code of the World Trade Center?
A: 220 (two to zero).

Q: What was the quickest escape time from the World Trade Center?
A: Ten seconds flat.

Q: How long does it take to reach the ground from 107 stories up?
A: The rest of your life

Q: In a game of chess between Bush and Laden who would win? A: Osama bin Laden because Bush doesn’t have towers.

Q: What do bin Laden and Hiroshima have in common?
A: Nothing yet

Q: How do you play Taliban bingo?
A: B52, F16, B1.

Q: How is Bin Laden like Fred Flintstone?
A: Both may look out their windows and see Rubble.

Q: What does Osama Bin Laden and General Custer have in common?
A: They both want to know where those Tomahawks are coming from!

Q: What is the definition of optimism”
A: As you fall past the 20th floor you shout, “I’m not hurt yet”

Q: How many New Yorkers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: God knows, they keep jumping out the window when it gets too hot

Q: What music do they play in the elevator in the WTC?
A: ‘Jump’ and ‘It’s Raining Men’

Q: Did you hear that the US military has achieved its first victory in Afghanistan?
A: The Red Cross has surrendered.

Q: What is the five-day forecast for Afghanistan?
A: Two days.

New York should be renamed “Manflatten”

Today FBI concluded that New York had been hit by a U.F.M
(unidentified flying Muslim)

Q: What did one terrorist say to the other terrorist before boarding their
respective airplanes?
A: I slam, you slam, we all slam for Islam!

Q: Who’s blonde, got big boobs and lives in Finland?
A: Osama Bin Laden
(This joke was previously used to describe persecuted author S. Rushdie)

Q: What’s the difference between the attack on New York and the Oklahoma City Bombing?
A: Again foreigners prove they can do it better and more efficiently.

Famous last words: “Amal, was this tower here yesterday?”

Q: Who are the fastest readers in the world?
A: New Yorkers. Some of them go through 110 stories in 5 seconds

Q: Why do tourists flock to New York?
A: It’s a blast

New York, New York, so good they hit it twice