riddle in Philadelphia ((lawyer joke))

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riddle in Philadelphia ((lawyer joke))

Post by Archived Topic » Tue Oct 26, 2004 5:03 pm

I've watched Philadelphia (1993, *ing Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington and Antonio Bandares), my all-time favourite movie, a couple of times and have read its script too. But there's this riddle in the movie I didn't quite catch.

At the climax, Andrew Becket (Tom Hanks) poses this riddle to Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), his lawyer who's paying a visit to the hospital to congratulate Andy for his legal victory. Andy asks, "So, what do you call a thousand lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean?" When Joe gives up, Andy divulges, "A good start!"

I just didn't get it. Would someone explain this to me; like I were a six old :-)?
Submitted by Sathyaish Chakravarthy (New Delhi - India)
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riddle in Philadelphia ((lawyer joke))

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Oct 26, 2004 5:17 pm

That is an excellent example of what we often call "lawyer jokes." Especially in America, we tend to have a love/hate relationship with lawyers. They are necessary, but--due to a few "rotten apples" that tend to spoil the barrel--many people see them as greedy, with questionable business practices. Therefore, a whole batch of lawyer jokes have arisen over the last few decades. The punch line in most of the jokes involves either making fun of the supposed evil attributes of the lawyers or making some statement that we should do away with all the lawyers.

In the joke you referenced from "Philadelphia," Tom Hanks' character is saying that a "thousand laywers chained together at the bottom of the ocean" (where they would all drown) is a "good start" (implying that the rest of the lawyers should be drowning with them).

I hope that clarifies things for you.
Reply from K. Allen Griffy (Springfield, IL - U.S.A.)
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riddle in Philadelphia ((lawyer joke))

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Oct 26, 2004 5:32 pm

Thanks, Allen. I thought so, but then they were both playing lawyers too, and they'd just won a case. Why must they smite at their creed?
Reply from Sathyaish Chakravarthy (New Delhi - India)
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riddle in Philadelphia ((lawyer joke))

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Oct 26, 2004 5:46 pm

It's a little bit of "self-deprecating humor." That's when you make fun of yourself (or something about yourself, like your profession). It's usually used to show that you can laugh at yourself. For example, if you happen to be blonde and do something dumb, you might make some sort of "dumb blonde" comment to lighten the moment.

In "Philadelphia," Andrew and Joe (both lawyers) had just won a case against a bunch of other lawyers. In addition, Andrew knew he was about to die. As I recall that scene in the movie, Joe was feeling a little awkward about Andrew's condition--he wasn't quite sure what to say or do. Andrew told the lawyer joke to lighten the mood. It was as if he were saying: "Hey, we both know I'm going to die, but that's OK. After all, most people won't mind one more dead lawyer; it's a good start." Humor is often used to deflect the pain and sadness associated with a loss.

Hope that helps.
Reply from K. Allen Griffy (Springfield, IL - U.S.A.)
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riddle in Philadelphia ((lawyer joke))

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Oct 26, 2004 6:01 pm

Thank you, Allen, once again.
Reply from Sathyaish Chakravarthy (New Delhi - India)
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