Tickling the Corpse


Six Jokes About Cognitive Dissonance



A man visits a doctor and explains that his complaint is that he’s dead. The doctor tells him that’s simply not true, that he’s alive, and that he can prove it with a simple demonstration. “Is a corpse ticklish?” the doctor asks. “Don’t be ridiculous,” says the man. “How could a corpse be ticklish?” The doctor raises the patient’s shirt and begins tickling his ribcage. The man screams with helpless laughter. When he recovers his breath he says to the doctor, “Doctor, you’re right! I had no idea! A corpse is ticklish!”


Suze Orman says, “To deride the movement because it has yet to formulate a well-delineated platform says plenty more about the critics than the protestors…The unholy alliance of much of Congress, K Street and Wall Street that has set the agenda from day one of the financial crisis is simply trying to protect its turf by casting aspersions on the ad hoc nature of the movement to date. I suppose I shouldn’t expect anything less. After all, there’s no way they could stage a substantive rebuttal based on facts.” When the patient recovers his breath, Alison Kosik says, “Bang on the bongos and smoke weed!”


A policeman happens upon a drunk crawling on his hands and knees under a streetlamp on an darkened stretch of sidewalk. When he inquires, the drunk explains that he’s searching for his lost keys. The policeman promptly kneels down and begins searching as well. After they’ve scoured the nearby pavement and gutter several times over the policeman thinks to ask, “Are you sure this is where you lost your keys?” The drunk replies, “Oh no, I lost my keys about fifty yards back.” He gestures at the darkened street behind him. “Well, then, why are you searching here?” asks the policeman. The man replies, “The light here is so much better.”


Alan Grayson says, “They’re complaining that Wall Street wrecked the economy three years ago and nobody’s held responsible for that. Not a single person’s been indicted or convicted for destroying twenty percent of our national net worth accumulated over two centuries. They’re upset about the fact that Wall Street has iron control over the economic policies of this country, and that one party is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street, and the other party caters to them as well.” Bill Keller says, “Bored by the soggy sleep-ins and warmed-over anarchism of Occupy Wall Street? Look here, the light is so much better.”


A concerned family brings their deluded son to a psychiatrist, explaining that he believes he’s a chicken. The psychiatrist does a quick evaluation and determines that, indeed, the poor young man imagines himself to be covered in feathers and roosting in a barn. He takes the father aside and suggests prescription of a mild anti-psychotic to begin, explaining that it may not cure the underlying disturbance but will at least alleviate the symptoms: the boy will no longer believe himself to be a chicken. “Oh, but we couldn’t do that,” says the father. “Why not?” asks the doctor. “Because,” says the father, “he’s too big to fail – I mean, we need the eggs.”


Dahlia Lithwick says, “Occupy Wall Street is not a movement without a message. It’s a movement that has wisely shunned the one-note, pre-chewed, simple-minded messaging required for cable television as it now exists. It’s a movement that feels no need to explain anything to the powers that be, although it is deftly changing the way we explain ourselves to one another… We are the most media-saturated 24-hour-cable-soaked culture in the world, and yet around the country, on Facebook and at protests, people are holding up cardboard signs, the way protesters in ancient Sumeria might have done when demonstrating against a rise in the price of figs. And why is that? Because they very wisely don’t trust television cameras and microphones to get it right anymore. Because a media constructed around the illusion of false equivalencies, screaming pundits, and manufactured crises fails to capture who we are and what we value.” And then Elizabeth Warren says, “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you! But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea — God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.” And Paul Krugman says, “Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They’re not John Galt; they’re not even Steve Jobs. They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens. Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees — basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families. This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny — and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny.” David Brooks says, “Liberal arts majors like to express their disdain for the shallow business and finance majors who make all the money. The light is better over here! We need the eggs!”


Editor’s Note: the author invites you to treat these as “open source” jokes. Feel free to rehash, revise, add your own, or any combination thereof. If you post your own “Jokes About Cognitive Dissonance,” please send us links by tweeting them to @OccupyWriters.