You’ve probably heard this one; it’s been around forever. A Dumb Guy is on a game show. He’s being humiliated. He doesn’t know anything. At the show’s finale, the Host, feeling sorry for the man, feeds him an easy one just to bring his score into the plus column. “For your last question,” the Host says. “What is Easter?”
“Oh, I know that!” says the Dumb Guy. “On Good Friday, Jesus Christ was crucified.”
“Ye-es?” says the Host.
“Then he was buried in a tomb with a big stone covering the entrance.”
“After three days, on Easter, the stone was rolled back and Jesus stepped out.”
“Yes, yes!” says the excited Host.
“And if he sees his shadow, we get six more weeks of winter,” says the Dumb Guy.
Now, when I was a kid, the Dumb Guy in the joke was Polish. Then, when for some reason Poles objected to being represented as stupid all the time, the Dumb Guy became a Blonde. Now, however, the New York Times has done us the favor of putting their reporters into the lead role by running a story on the Pope that got the meaning of Easter as wrong as the guy in the joke!
Elisabetta Povoledo is a Rome-based reporter for the paper’s international edition, but either she or her copy editor made a mortifying mischaracterization of the meaning of Easter in an online story on Pope Francis posted Monday: “Pope Calls for ‘Peace in All the World’ in First Easter Message.”
Here’s the original final paragraph, vanished from nytimes.com but available on Nexis, emphasis added:
Easter is the celebration of the resurrection into heaven of Jesus, three days after he was crucified, the premise for the Christian belief in an everlasting life. In urging peace, Francis called on Jesus to ”change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace.”
The Times issued this correction:
An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the Christian holiday of Easter. It is the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, not his resurrection into heaven.
This is wonderful! It, so to speak, resurrects an entire species of humor while eliminating its taint of political incorrectness. From now on, we can feel free to tell gut-busters like these:
What do a New York Times reporter and a beer bottle have in common? They’re both empty from the neck up.
What do you call a pimple on a New York Times reporter’s backside? A brain tumor.
How can you tell when a New York Times reporter has been using your computer? There’s white-out on the screen.
So thanks to the New York Times for years of laughter to come!
And to Jesus for, you know, the salvation.