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ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 1 20:54:17 UTC 2015

Apparently an instance of the tale was included in a 1958 article
titled "Marginality and Jewish Humor":

[ref] 1958, Midstream, Volume 4, Number 2, Marginality and Jewish
Humor by Bernard Rosenberg and Gilbert Shapiro, Start Page 70, Quote
Page 70 and 71, Theodor Herzl Foundation, New York. (Google Books
snippet; data may be inaccurate; not yet verified in paper; article
title visible in snippet; citation data is conjectural and was
assembled from multiple sources)[/ref]

[Begin extracted text]
Thus: A lady approaches a very dignified
man on the subway and asks him,
"Pardon me for asking, but are you
Jewish?" He coldly replies, "No."
She returns in a moment and apolo-
getically asks again. "Are you sure
you're not Jewish?" Yes, he is sure.
Still not convinced, she asks a final
time, "Are you absolutely sure you're
not Jewish? The man breaks down
and admits it, "All right, all right, I
am Jewish." To which she makes the
rejoinder, "That's funny. You don't
look Jewish."

The essence of marginality is similarly
captured in ...
[End extracted text]


On Sat, Aug 1, 2015 at 11:02 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Facebook
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> On Aug 1, 2015, at 1:00 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>> "[Bernie Sanders,] a 73-year-old Jew _from Brooklyn via Vermont_ ..."
>> Shouldn't that be
>> "... a 73-year-old Jew _from Vermont via Brooklyn_ ..."?
>> Or have I, once again, fallen behind the curve of language-change?
> Ah, another reversal?  Actually, I think I'd go for _from Brooklyn via =
> Vermont_.  For me the "via" is 'by way of', so I'd take someone who told =
> me he was from Vermont via Brooklyn as saying he started out in Vermont =
> and spent some time in Brooklyn (probably Williamsburg, the most =
> Vermonty neighborhood of Brooklyn) before getting here.  Someone from =
> Vermont via Brooklyn would talk the way someone from Brooklyn (via =
> anywhere) like Bernie does.  Haven't checked OED to see what sort of =
> glosses and cites they show, this is just my own intuition.  Has there =
> been a change of the "substitute" kind here?
>> (Bernie Sanders is a Jew?! That's odd. He doesn't look Jewish. Those =
> of a
>> certain age may recognize the reference.)
>> --=20
> There was this long shaggy dog joke my mother was fond of.  Let's =
> see...yup, here's a version on the web, from=20
> http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=3D583583
> (Pretty much the way she told it, except the train was a subway and the =
> woman was a man (with an over-the-top Yiddish accent).
> A woman on a train walked up to a man across the table. "Excuse me," she =
> said, "but are you Jewish?"
> "No," replied the man.
> A few minutes later the woman returned. "Excuse me," she said again, =
> "are you sure you're not Jewish?"
> "I'm sure," said the man.
> But the woman was not convinced, and a few minutes later she approached =
> him a third time. "Are you absolutely sure you're not Jewish?" she =
> asked?
> "All right, all right," the man said. "You win. I'm Jewish."
> "That's funny," said the woman." You don't look Jewish."
> LH=
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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