Decoder Ring: Truly Tasteless Jokes
Tuesday, 7 December
Note: This episode is about offensive material, and so contains explicit and offensive language.
Truly Tasteless Jokes were a series of joke books that dominated the bestsellers list during the 1980s. An equal opportunity joke book: Truly Tasteless Jokes were collections of jokes ranging from Helen Keller, to dead babies, to sexist and racist jokes that from the vantage of 2021, seem entirely abject. For readers in the 1980’s though, these books were ubiquitous. On this episode we dig into the history of these books and their author Ashton Applewhite. It’s a story that involves the tangled history of 1960’s free speech politics, conservative backlash, and the strange moment in the 1980’s when left and right wing speech politics converged to help make these books mainstream.
If you love the show and want to support us, consider joining Slate Plus. With Slate Plus you can get ad free podcasts, bonus episodes, and much more.
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices