Stereotype-Based European Joking

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"Stereotype-Based European Joking"

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I find myself largely in agreement with David Byrne (from the Talking Heads) about urban planning but I think this joke could use some work:

There’s an old joke that you know you’re in heaven if the cooks are Italian and the engineering is German. If it’s the other way around you’re in hell.

The way I heard the joke it was much more complicated and in heaven the French are the cooks, the Germans are the engineers, the British are the police, the Swiss are the bankers, and the Italians are the lovers whereas in hell the French are the bankers, the Germans are the police, the British are the cooks, the Swiss are the lovers, and the Italians are the engineers.

This slight variant on my version has “managers” instead of “bankers” which strikes me as a little bit odd. At any rate, I’m pleased to report that modern-day Germany seems very well-policed. Indeed, Germany has one of the lowest murder rates in the world.

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