August 22, 2011, 12:00 AM — Jokes based on ethnic stereotypes are wrong.
Not necessarily in a moral sense, though often that's true.
From a purely pedantic, editorial fact-checking point of view, most just don't stand up to examination.
Every once in a while you find one that seems not only accurate, but endorsed and actively supported by the ethnic group being ridiculed.
Take the Germans.
German officials explaining the decision barked something about it having to do with privacy.
The real reason was explicable only to English bigots with an anti-teutonic bias and those Americans who spent an unwise number of hours absorbing enough second-rate British comedy to understand all the jokes about humorless, overly literal Prussians. ("Zey say 'it is funny, because eet ees true. Zat punchline vas not true. Zerefore, it vas not vunny.")
Officials in the German Data Protection Commissioner's office of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein announced Friday that "all institutions" have to "shut down their fan pages on Facebook and remove social plug-ins such as the 'like' button form their Web sites."
Both content and traffic-analysis data from Facebook pages maintained by Germans go back to data centers in the U.S., but Facebook does not provide enough information about where the data are or what happens to it to ensure it isn't violating German privacy laws, according to the Data Protection Commission
Not only is "like-"ing verboten, there are consequences: Organizations that haven't shed their "like" by the end of September can be fined up to the equivalent of $72,000.
Individuals who "visit Facebook.com or use[s] a plug-in must expect that he or she will be tracked by the company for two years."
(It's impossible to read that sentence out loud without adopting a cheesy, Hogan's Heroes-ish CHH-urrrmen agg-sent, by the way, so don't even try to avoid it.)