I’m a bit late with this, I know, but a few weeks ago Barak Obama gave a speech in which he included a joke about young men who might have designs on his daughters. “I have two words for them,” he said: “Predatory drones”. Laughter from the audience. Then he added: “You think I’m joking.” More laughter.
What’s interesting about this is that a British audience wouldn’t have found this funny at all. They’d have been bemused rather than amused. A British Prime Minister who made jokes about surgical strikes on his daughter’s suitors would be regarded as old-fashioned, boorish, and possibly mentally unbalanced. In America, though, the idea of the possessive father is seen as intrinsically amusing – witness films like Father of the Bride and Meet the Parents. Any theories on why this should be so?