Q. What is black and white and red(read) all over?
A. A newspaper.
I remember first hearing this joke as a little kid. It rocked my small mind when I realized that the word I thought was red was actually read. The old switcheroo. This was probably the first joke I had heard that worked like this.
I have illustrated this joke several times for joke pages in kid magazines over the years... and the answer is never "a newspaper" anymore. It is always something like "an embarrassed zebra"... "a penguin holding its breath"... "a sunburned polar bear" or such. I had been thinking that since EVERYONE knows the old newspaper joke, this is just another switcheroo! You think the answer is "a newspaper" but then they trick you by saying it's something else.
But now I am not so sure.
Newspapers are disappearing off the American landscape like the mighty buffalo did many years ago. Now there are even more newspapers in financial trouble. Do kids even see a newspaper these days? Probably not. Maybe they wouldn't understand the original joke. "A newspaper? ...what's that?" Maybe the joke has to be retooled just so kids can understand it now.
I wonder how many newspapers will bite the dust in 2009? And just WHO will do the investigative reporting like Woodward and Bernstein then? Some news blogger sitting at his laptop in his pajamas?
I think not.