A Thomistic Analysis of Dad Jokes

A Thomistic Analysis of Dad Jokes September 14, 2016

Reader Peter Holmes puts his Catholic education to good use by writing:

Whether some jokes are not Dad jokes

Objection 1: The joke relies on knowledge not usually possessed by children. The joke is addressed to Facebook users who are, by law, over 14 years old. Therefore it is not a Dad joke.

Objection 2: The joke is told on Facebook, where there are no children to groan and roll their eyes. Therefore it is not a Dad joke.

Objection 3: The joke is part of a long series of jokes of the same genre, which means we were not surprised by the pun. Therefore it is not a Dad joke

On the contrary, in Genesis Sarah says “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.”

I answer that Dad jokes come in many kinds and have different responses. As Ecclesiastes says “there is a time to cry and a time to laugh.”

Repl Obj 1: A father remains a father of his children whatever age they are. Therefore a Dad joke may apply any level of knowledge available to adult children.

Repl Obj 2: A father remains a father of his children even though distance separate them. Therefore a Dad joke may be told at great distances, even over Facebook. Also, eye-roll emote!

Repl Obj 3: While surprise is desirable, persisting with relentless and inevitable puns is also desirable in Dad jokes. A series of jokes reveals not a lack of skill, but a mastery of the Dad joke. Therefore this is a Dad joke.

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