Why is this funny?

drunkenmenno on whiteBecause there are people out there who do not understand the humour in this blog, and in honour of April Fool’s Day, this post is all about explaining the joke.

Those of you who burst out laughing when you learned about a Mennonite cocktail blog, might not need this primer. In fact, you might prefer the humour left unexplained.

Still, I encourage you to read on anyway. It might happen one day that you have the urge to talk about this blog to your friends, coworkers, or kindred and they will look at you puzzled and ask why it is funny. And you will be left blinking in the sunlight and searching for words to explain the humour.

It could happen.

I am here to save you from that fate. Not from the blinking. It’s not my job to tell you not to blink. But I can help with the words. I’ll try, anyway.

Odd Bedfellows

A Mennonite cocktail blog is funny the same way bacon and ice cream is funny. They’re two good things that don’t normally accompany each other.

There are a lot of Mennonite blogs out there. I’ve pointed this out before. For a while, I thought they were fairly evenly split between the religious, sermonette blogs and the Mennonite food blogs. The sermonette people are much more organized, however, and I think they have pulled out in front, while the “Girls” have come to dominate the Anabaptist food blogscape to such an extent that the anti-trust people will be coming after them soon.

With something of a Cocktail Renaissance in North America, there are also a fair number of cocktail blogs. Like the Mennonite sermonette blogs, these are written by people who are passionate about their subject, and who speak earnestly about it.

As far as I could tell, there wasn’t any overlap between the two blogging communities until I came along. Reflections on Mennonite life and cocktail recipes are not normally expected to be found together. It’s incongruous. This makes it funny in a bacon and ice cream sort of way.

Is it or is it not a taboo?

Many people think the idea of The Drunken Mennonite is funny because Mennonites aren’t supposed to drink alcohol. That would make it funny because it is breaking a taboo.

This is where it gets complicated.

There are, indeed, some Mennonites who do not approve of alcohol and who probably do not read this blog. It’s because of those Mennonites that Mennonite World Review will not reference the Drunken Menno Blog when it reposts my pieces. There are also many who read the blog but don’t admit to reading it when they meet for coffee and fellowship after Church. Those Mennonite readers might be enjoying the sensation of being just a little bit naughty.

If that’s you – you’re welcome.

But there are many others of us who have no problem with alcohol and who celebrate the various distillers and brewers in our Mennonite past and present. So, it’s not really much of a taboo for us. But it’s still funny because we know that everyone else thinks it’s a taboo. The humour relies a bit on common misconceptions that Mennonites are uniformly uptight, dour, and opposed to alcohol.

Ok, yes, we’re mostly dour and uptight, but we’re not all opposed to alcohol, alright?

In what my ten-minute foray into humour theory has taught me, this is what is known as benign violation. It breaks our norms and expectations about Mennonites and drinking (that’s the violation part) but it’s just not that bad because lots of us do drink (that’s the benign bit).

But enough theory. I think that Benign Violation sounds like a good name for a cocktail.


Benign Violation

This cocktail combines the anise/licorice flavour of pernod with the marzipan notes of amaretto which you wouldn’t think would work at all (that’s the violation of norms). But it’s not Benign Violationbad. It’s actually pretty benign.

  • 1 oz pernod
  • 1 oz amaretto
  • 2 oz cold water

Mix in glass and serve on ice.

 

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