The other new trend in unemployment media is the rise of the bailout joke.
Bailout jokes range from late-night punchlines (“”The three big domestic automakers are now saying they are working jointly on a new hybrid car. It runs on a combination of state and federal bailout money”) to warmed-over stockbroker jokes, but what I’m really thinking about are the extended gags, like Charles Bernstein’s poetry bailout or P.J. O’Rourke’s bailout for print journalism:
Remember, America, you can’t wrap a fish in satellite radio or line the bottom of your birdcage with MSNBC (however appropriate that would be). It’s expensive to swat flies with a podcasting iPod. Newsboys tossing flat-screen monitors on to your porch will damage the wicker furniture. And a dog that’s trained to piddle on your high-speed internet connection can cause a dangerous electrical short-circuit and burn down your house.
What is it that’s so funny about our economic disaster? I love Depression-era jokes: it’s hard to beat “the rich get richer and the poor get children.” And the gap between sudden poverty and creature comforts has always been funny: cf. Will Rogers’s “We