Highlander jokes and so-called spirit of the highland
The aim of this article is to examine the authenticity of popular ‘highlanders’ jokes’ published in many anthologies of humour as well as in separate dedicated volumes often termed ‘highlanders’ humour’ thus suggesting folkloristic sources of the texts. The analysis of representative examples shows that most jokes are thoroughly fictive constructions profiled as ethnic jokes without authentic origins. The anonymous sources of these jokes create them with two main qualities: 1. the tendency to use puns, black humour or even nonsense humour which contrasts with the rather realistic humour of folkloristic texts; 2. incorporating elements of modern reality such as technical gadgets comically incongruous in the context of the stereotypical image of highlanders’ culture. A true portrait of highlander culture, a quality of authentic folklore, is replaced by purely nominal ethnic characteristics, often added to primarily non- ethnic jokes, implying that the ethnic joke is more funny than the same joke without such an ethnic characteristic (for instance, a joke about Scottish avarice is deemed more funny than the same joke about a non-descript miser).