Via reader StAugustine, who supplied a quote from Irvin Cobb as an answer to the Hivemind media propaganda blitz asserting that women are just as funny as men.
Seriously. From Irwin S. Cobb’s memoirs (1923), I’ve treasured this nugget:
“You may have noticed that in making this classification, I have used the masculine gender exclusively. I have done so advisedly and after due thought, because all the best authorities agree that it is not in the nature of a woman to take a joke, for better or for worse, the first time she meets it face to face. In the matter of being shown, the average woman, so far as humor is concerned, is so far out in Missouri that she’s practically in Kansas. She is up on the tallest peak of the Ozark Mountains, very skeptical, not to say skittish. She wants to hear a thing that’s funny several times and let it soak into her and mingle with her other ingredients; then after a suitable period of time she begins to care for it and forever after bears it a deep and lasting affection. At least, soothe authorities confirm.”
Cobb captured a particular feature of women very well: their conformist herd mentality influences almost everything they set about to understand, even the world of humor. But once woman has latched onto a novel observation (or narrative) she won’t easily relinquish it, until signaled by her peers that it’s ok to do so.