Essay question

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A recent "joke of the day" from Comedy Central:

A crowded flight is cancelled, and a frazzled agent must rebook a long line of inconvenienced travelers by herself. Suddenly, an angry passenger pushes to the front and demands to be on the next flight, first class.

The agent replies, "I'm sorry, sir. I'll be happy to try to help you, but I've got to help these folks first."

The passenger screams, "Do you have ANY idea who I am?"

The gate agent grabs her public address microphone, "May I have your attention, please? We have a passenger here WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to gate 17."

Exam question: Explain this joke in terms of the theories of J.L. Austin and H.P. Grice.

Extra credit: Would later approaches modify these explanations? If so, whose, and how?

[Update: Stephen Jones points out that the joke traditionally has another two lines:

The chap says, "Fuck you!"
The woman says, "You have to stand in line for that too, sir."

The Comedy Central version included these (well, it was "screw you", but close enough); I omitted them because they bring in an additional set of linguistic issues.

Stephen also observed that a version of the joke can be found in Pinker's The Stuff of Thought, and suggests that this "[says] something about the quality of the light reading of the Comedy Central Staff though, presuming they got it from Pinker". (My own bet would be on an independent scribal tradition.)

And finally, Stephen wrote:

Incidentally I must copy your way of getting out of marking exam questions. Turning off comments so there's nowhere to hand them in.

Well, I thought that the comments would not be an ideal place for such answers. But if anyone sends me a good one, I'll post it on their behalf. ]

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