Monday, May 27, 2024

LOL! Anti-Ageism Activist Author Once Published “Truly Tasteless Jokes” Including the “N” Word– And It’s Still Available on Kindle!


I wrote a story about how HBO’s “The Gilded Age” was only attracting an audience over the age of 55.

I immediately got attacked on Twitter by an account called @thischairrocks. An author named Ashton Applewhite came after me liking a Tweet that admonished me. (Hey– I was just reporting the ratings.)

I thought, I know that name. And I sure do. In 1985, when I was at Ballantine Books, Ashton Applewhite had a massive paperback hit called “Truly Tasteless Jokes.” It was such a bestseller that there was a second volume, a calendar, and lots of other merchandise. The author was “Blanche Knott”– get it? This was Applewhite’s pseudonym.

The books were garbage but they sold like crazy. They’re out of print now, but guess what? Applewhite, now an ageism activist and very PC, still sells them on Kindle. So I downloaded one.

And the book has jokes with the “N” word. In fact, one of the jokes not only has the “N” word, it’s ageist!

I can’t reprint it even redacting “N” word because the same joke also has other language not permitted here.

A lot of time has passed since 1985 as far as cultural attitudes. Even then these jokes were not acceptable. But no one was canceled for telling them. The book became a beach read, a hit at dinner parties. People were reading them aloud. Ballantine, a division of Random House, was thrilled! My ex bosses (hey Claire Ferraro remember these good times?) were already making money publishing psychics and Garfield the cat. Actually literature was a thing of the past.

Applewhite has a whole website called She writes on it: “I led the team that developed Old School, a clearinghouse of anti-ageism resources. I am the voice of Yo, Is This Ageist? (Go ahead, ask me.) I’ve written a consciousness-raising booklet. And I speak widely. All tools to help catalyze a movement to make discrimination on the basis of age as unacceptable as any other kind.”

Consciousness-raising! Hello! What do you call a black Frenchman? Jacques Custodian.

How about a Polish joke? They seem perfect right now when the Polish people are risking their lives to help emigree Ukrainians.

Did you hear about the Pole who locked his family in the car? He had to get a coathanger to get them out.

So all this is so much worse because the books are still available on Kindle! And making money, presumably! The Kindle editions are $3.99. The money goes right to Applewhite, er, Knott.

Yes, Applewhite is a serious thinker now. She’s against ageism — because she’s 65.

Oh well, I will redact. Here’s a joke about racist old people.

Two old white farmers, Royce and J.T., had picked the same day to do a little hunting. Royce looked up and said to J.T., “Sh*t! Dat’s de biggest goddam bird I eva seen!” “Let’s get em,” said J.T. They fired off several rounds, but the glider floated serenely over the trees and out of sight. “Hell, Royce,” said J.T., “I b’lieve we dusted dat bird.” “Sh*t, I know we dusted em,” said Royce. “Did you see how fast it dropped dat [N word]?”

Knott, Blanche. Truly Tasteless Jokes One (p. 31). Ashtonia LLC. Kindle Edition.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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