Talk:You have two cows

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Former featured article candidateYou have two cows is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
July 18, 2004Featured article candidateNot promoted


I'm fairly sure this one predates the wide availability of the internet. I saw a version in the early 80's from my mother, who was working in a primary school at the time.

So did I, around 1987. It was actually a poster, with cartoon illustrations, and was "localised" to the UK, e.g. it had the Tory party, Labour party etc. as sections. -- DrBob

Shouldn't the intro in the article mention that this is where the name Tucows Inc. came from in 1993? I think that's the kind of info that belongs in an encyclopedia, especially this one. --isis 11:22 Oct 8, 2002 (UTC)

[1] "TUCOWS: The Ultimate Collection Of Winsock Software"


Two fragments I did not see how to integrate

Cows are chosen as "cow" is an inherently funny word.

Noticeably absent: Post-Modernism and many others...

-- Rednblu 06:43, 25 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Do we need to keep the last "contribution?" If it was posted by an American about Mexicans or Blacks, I would not be happy with the poster. Nothing currently in the article sinks to that level. Pakaran 21:42, 17 Dec 2003 (UTC)

What about Shit happens??? Examples:

Catholicism: "If shit happens I deserve it"
Judaism: "Why is this shit always happening to me?"
Comunism: "When shit happens, it is for everybody"
Televangelism: "Send money or shit will happen to you"
And my personal favourite...
Jehovah's witnesses: "Knock! Knock! Shit happens!"

~I think it would be nice and funny to have a Shit happens page, but maybe is offensive... Muriel Gottrop 16:25, 7 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Surely "offensive" depends on your POV. Wikipedia is supposed to be NPOV. QED. HTH. HAND. Phil 16:48, Nov 7, 2003 (UTC)
I don't think it's offensive at all, despite being a (critical) catholic. I'm just afraid that we have people accusing us of attacking religion... Maybe we could make fun of all of them :) Muriel Gottrop
That has to be the best way :-) Phil 17:13, Nov 7, 2003 (UTC)
Ok, i'm going to do it! Muriel

In reference to "These definitions are examples of the first Internet jokes that circulated in the early days of the Internet."[edit]

Granted the "two cows" jokes have been around a long time, but it seems to me that they are predated by other joke series -- if jokes that were being circulated on paper in the '80s are considered to have antedated the Internet then the same must be said about jokes that were common on Usenet.

The jokes that come to mind are first, the ever lengthening list of lightbulb jokes and second, the jokes about a string in a bar. -- jbl

Why are these organized alphabetically? I seem to recall them being funnier when they were ordered as a political critique that got steadily more outrageous? 20:37, 20 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Is this how Tucows got its name?? -- Timwi 17:21, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

We need two cows in the pic, not one lonely cow. A cow and a bull will also do. Try some from Wikipedia:Bad jokes and other deleted nonsense/ASCII cows. Jay 07:34, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I think that this is unnecessary. The jokes pinpoint "faulty manipulation" instead of "fatal result". The picture shows the manipulation well. !!!!!!!!! 08:52, 11 August 2007 (UTC)!!!!!!!!!


I can't find the article on Wikipedia:Featured article candidates where it should have been. But it isn't on Wikipedia:Feature candidates/Archived nominations or Wikipedia:Featured articles either, so it seems never to have been on the Wikipedia:Featured article candidates page. Could the person wanting to nominate the article put it on the Wiki:FA canditates page and write there why s/he wants to nominate it? And then move the above notice as well to the article itself (where it should officially be)? Otherwise I'll remove the nominated notice. (By the way, I liked the article but I think it can still be made better.) Paul/laudaka (add me to your Y!M/AIM/etc. list if you like!) | Talk 17:27, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Found SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:04, 13 June 2007 (UTC)


I just removed a joke on Wikipedia, for the second time. This one was funnier than the first one a few months ago, but it's not appropriate for the article space. It's an in-joke that's unfunny to anyone but Wikipedians, it's a form of "original research" since it's presumably made up by the contributor, and it also violates Wikipedia:Avoid self-references. That said, I'm going to put it on BJAODN. Isomorphic 04:13, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Featured Article candidacy comments (not promoted)[edit]

You have two cows[edit]

(Contested - July 12)

Excellent piece. I copyedited some of it, but otherwise not a self-nom. Neutrality 02:30, Jul 13, 2004 (UTC)

  • Object. Article is mostly a list, and a sourcetext list at that. Snowspinner 02:33, Jul 13, 2004 (UTC)
  • Object. The list doesn't belong here. Should give only a couple of examples, examining them in detail. The non-list material is good, however. 09:10, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • Object. This is an encyclopaedia, not a (very unfunny) joke book. Bmills 09:46, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • Agree. If anything it demonstrates the strengths and power of referentiality of Wikipedia. Besides which some Wikipedians have a sense of humour. Nothing wrong with making the public aware of the fact. Sjc 12:53, 18 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I wonder if it could be nominated again, now that we have an image and the jokes are gone? (Disclosure: I re-wrote most of the intro a while back so it's partly a self-nomination.) Lawrence Lavigne 07:16, Sep 19, 2004 (UTC)

The list of jokes really really has to go. It adds nothing to the article; Wikipedia is not a joke book. If anyone has a good reason why not, please say so... Kate | Talk 05:25, 2004 Jul 27 (UTC)

You mean just this article or all articles listed under Category:Jokes ? Jay 09:45, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Not even this article - only the list of jokes. Kate | Talk 15:36, 2004 Aug 3 (UTC)
Spend some time looking at the pages off of Category:Jokes, a number of them have lists of jokes within the article. If we're making the move to a "List of" article, we should do that universally. -FunnyMan 12:51, Aug 5, 2004 (UTC)
It's quite possible other articles also need fixing if they have lists as long as this one. In any case someone else has sorted this article out while I wasn't looking. I wouldn't be surprised if the new List of "You have two cows" jokes found a home on VfD soon, since it really adds nothing to Wikipedia (the fact that there are other bad articles isn't justification for more, and I don't believe being "entertaining" is one of Wikipedia's aims). Kate | Talk 13:09, 2004 Aug 5 (UTC)
Feel free to add it there, we'll see how it fares. -FunnyMan 15:05, Aug 5, 2004 (UTC)
I wasn't planning to - it's not doing any harm now - but there are people who'd rather this whole article went away ;-) Kate | Talk 15:22, 2004 Aug 5 (UTC)
I'd rather a lot of things went away. It doesn't mean that they will, or even that it's a good idea. I'll watch the new page carefully. -FunnyMan 18:05, Aug 5, 2004 (UTC)

I'll agree that a huge list does not belong in this article, but if you haven't noticed, lists of various kinds ARE a part of Wikipedia. For instance, List of song titles phrased as questions or List of songs whose main title appears more than twenty times in the lyrics. If music lovers can have that kind of list, I see no reason why we couldn't have a List of two cows jokes. If you'd prefer, there are quite a few of these that are (potentially) useful in the article they reference. Feel free to move them. Or perhaps just put them in a You have two cows/examples subpage. Please, though, don't just get rid of this list, a lot of it is entertaining. -FunnyMan 05:26, Jul 28, 2004 (UTC)

Well, what about moving it to List of You have two cows jokes? They're currently several times longer than the useful parts of the article. Kate | Talk 15:36, 2004 Aug 3 (UTC)
I'd have no problem with that, I suggested effectively the same idea in the post you replied to. -FunnyMan 12:51, Aug 5, 2004 (UTC)

We illustrate this with a picture of three cows? Photoshop anyone? DJ Clayworth 17:49, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Deletion of the Jokebook[edit]

Jimbo Wales has announced that he will be deleting the Jokebook from Wikibooks within 24 hours. See Wikibooks:Staff lounge. Uncle G 16:29, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Where are the jokes?[edit]

This article is a bit hard to understand if the jokes are talked about without being mentioned. I understand some of it because I heard some of the jokes (and was actually rather looking forward to reading them again because I forgot how exactly they went), but someone who hasn't won't have a clue what this is all about. Of course not a long list, but at least some. Else it makes no sense. DirkvdM 19:11, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

The jokes were once moved to the Wikibooks jokebook, where they grew into a colossal collection that took several hours to read. But then the jokebook was deleted because it did not contribute to the ultimate goal of creating a source of free-content textbooks and manuals. This scenario has occured before: Wikipedians determine that a certain article or section is not needed and decide to move it to a sister project, which in turn deletes the material because Wikipedians don't entriely understand the purpose of the respective sister project. Perhaps we should add just a few of the most common jokes back into the article so that it will make sense to readers. Anyhow, Uncyclopedia, which uses the MediaWiki software but is not affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation, has a page about You have two cows jokes. --TantalumTelluride 23:48, 24 January 2006 (UTC)
If you are really determined, you can look at an old edit such as this one: Cheers Manning, the original instigator of this legendary bit of Wikipedia madness. (not logged in...

A Sad day for citing sources[edit]

What in the nine hells of Baator are we doing citing Uncyclopedia in this article? What are we doing citing it in any article? Has anyone even LOOKED at the article on uncyclopedia? It adds nothing to the article, and it should be possible to find better, actually citable sources that help the reader understand the topic. --The1exile - Talk - Contribs -Flag of Denmark.svg 19:06, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

What in the infinite layers of the Abyss are you doing complaining about it on the talk page instead of editing the article? And have you tried finding those sources yet? The talk namespace is cheap... 14:32, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
The You have two cows article can actually be looked at as a huge example list of you have two cows jokes. It solves the problem of having a list in here yet gives examples of You have two cows jokes. I see no reason for it's removal just because it's from a site you don't find the majority of stuff on funny.(To be honest a lot of stuff on there isn't funny sometimes to me eigther, but not always, Two cows is a Gem mostly.) at the very least, a link to this catagory of it fits in more with the traditional versions of the joke. -Sgore 21:18, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Not a list of jokes[edit]

User: Deltabeignet Originally deleted the giant list of jokes, then added two examples back. I do not believe a list of... forty "two cow" jokes really helps Wikipedia be an encyclopedia. I am removing them again, and upon re-addition without discussion, I will contact an admin for mediation. --DevastatorIIC 18:52, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Okay, but we need at least ONE cow joke. We have the ridiculous situation of an article about a type of joke with no examples of the joke. This is ridiculous. TechnoFaye Kane 20:54, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

how about an image to illustrate the jokes?[edit]

I first heard these as a political cartoon hanging in my HS history teacher's room. The cartoon illustrated 5 or 6 political ideologies (communism, socialism, fascism, capitalism) with the 2 cows. The jokes had a cold-war slant, with capitalism being the punchline ( a bull!). I think one way to end constant edit wars with those wishing to add dozens of variations is to include an image illustrating the jokes. I couldn't find a copy of the one I remember online, but it would be relatively easy to recreate it (thus also avoiding any copyvio issues). --Alcuin 03:29, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Deletion of most content[edit]

User:Light current deleted most of the content of this article without explanation. Was it because this article refers to a joke? This article is about a joke (one that is well known and common enough to warrant an article of its own, apparently). Rather than decimating the content of the article, perhaps User:Light current would like to submit this article for AfD in its original form. I propose that the original content of this article before User:Light current's recent modifications be restored. --Ghewgill 02:45, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

The complete article is unencyclopedic. Yes please restore it if you like, then put it up for AfD.--Light current 03:12, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
Done, thanks. --Ghewgill 09:50, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
Light current, why did you do this? If it's "unencyclopedic", explain why- don't just remove content. Friday (talk) 01:04, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

WP:STALK? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Light current (talkcontribs).

The comments above are none of "nitpicking good-faith edits to different articles, repeated personal attacks or posting personal information"; your allegation of harassment is invalid. Ibanix 21:45, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Lack of Content[edit]

This article doesn't seem to actually tell us anything about the jokes - like where did they come from. By the nature of the joke, I would assume it comes from some time during the cold war, as it is essentially designed to show how bad other economic systems are, and ends with a clever bit which also shows how great capitalism is. - Matthew238 05:54, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Sentence without an ending[edit]

The final para has a sentence that doesn't end. I can't edit it because I don't know how it should have ended. How people portray different ideologies depends often, entirely on their. Any suggestions? --Rhi 14:06, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Removed paragraph[edit]

Bad original research. People owned (and still own) cows in communism, so the central premise of the the paragraph is false. GregorB 16:18, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

That would be a negatory, GregorB. Under actual Communism, people do not own the cows; the state does. As for theoretical communism, there are as many different versions as there are communists; but for the most part, even at its most lenient, it's not 'ownership' but sharing. -LlywelynII (talk) 15:39, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

This dates from at least the late '60s - c'mon, no one remembers Pat Paulsen?[edit]

I had always thought that the definitive "you have two cows" routine was a monologue by Pat Paulsen (think proto-Ben Stein) on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, later included on his album Pat Paulsen for President, part of his parody campaign for the US Presidency in 1968 (think proto-Stephen Colbert). Truly hilarious.

I'm stunned no one has mentioned this earlier; I figured this routine was quite well-known, even nearly four decades later. Excuse me while I go chase the kids off my lawn.--NapoliRoma (talk) 01:37, 18 December 2007 (UTC)


Pardon me, but all but the last reference all lead to The website has nothing to do with the actual article. Could someone please correct this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:16, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I think the proquest links were added in December 2006 in response to a nomination for deletion. Imo, the external link to is sufficient to illustrate that the article is about a notable topic. I visited the article and was disappointed to find that there were only three examples, a load of inaccessible references to the same subsciption only site, and no external links to any more examples. While the article should not become a repository for further examples, there should be links to other sites with more such examples. Therefore I restored the external links. Viewfinder (talk) 15:54, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
The article is badly neglected. There are quite a few quite good refs. I will improve the page today. Once again, it needs good encyclopedic text, not links to joke repositories, which people may find easily by google. Please notice also, that wikis and other anonymous content pages are not valid references in wikipedia, therefore capitol & uncyclopedia are both solid no-go. Fortunately, like I said, there is enough books printed with "bibovineisms" `'Míkka>t 01:52, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
OK. I cleaned up some bullshit & gave some extra leads. I hope someone continues the improvement. `'Míkka>t 03:07, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

IMMEDIATE ATTENTION NEEDED: How much of this section is quote vs. paraphrase?[edit]

My goodness this portion is awkward; I would Be Bold, except I am unfamiliar with the source material and therefore would be concerned I had edited it incorrectly:

Richard M. Steers and Luciara Nardon in their book about global economy use the "two cows" metaphor to illustrate the concept of cultural differences. They write that jokes of this kind:[9]
* Russian company: You have two cows. You drink some vodka and count them again. You have five cows. The Russian Mafia shows up and takes however many cows you have.
* Californian company: You have a million cows. Most of them are illegals.
These are funny because they are realistic caricatures of various cultures, and the pervasiveness of such jokes stems from the significant cultural differences. They further say that others argue that such jokes present cultural stereotypes and must be viewed with caution.

First problem - "They write that jokes of this kind"... that jokes of this kind WHAT? This appears to be a poor phrasing, of what should actually be "They write of jokes of this kind:", but could someone please clarify?

Second problem: "These are funny..." this immediately struck me as POV, until it ocurred to me that it may be from a quote. As in - was it originally a quote? In which case it should be formatted as such; however,if the text was intended to be a paraphrase, it should read more like "They argue that these are funny..."

Third problem: even if the "these are funny" portion is a quote, "They further say that..." is clearly either a paraphrase, or a quote with lead that is also mis-formatted.

This is sloppy-looking, ungrammatical and also terribly confusing for the reader, to whom it will also come across as POV. Someone familiar with the source material NEEDS to fix this, pronto. (talk) 00:08, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Discussion on Sources[edit]

The following sources linked to pro quest where I have a subscription. "Guevarra, Argee", "Melnick, Rick", and "Insider Column. Thailand," I have tried searching the Authors name, tried to find the journal, and tried the Proquest document ID and nothing.

I did find the enronism avenue of the americas article, but it is just a telling of a joke in an editorial page, not a discussion of the joke. The "Texan Bull" is a re-telling of the same Enron joke in the same Financial Times publication. Again, no discussion of the joke, on a joke. TharsHammar Bits andPieces 15:52, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Potential further sources[edit]

brief mentions from google scholar:

Mostly historical uses, but might help. -- Quiddity (talk) 04:21, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Note: Some explanatory text was deleted from this article in 2006 (as noted far above). It might be helpful to restore this, if supporting citations can be found, rather than rewriting from scratch. -- Quiddity (talk) 03:29, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Just been watching The Plane Makers, an ATV drama from 1963. One character uses the 'two cows' political definitions in the episode 'Don't Stick Your Head Out', TX 14 October 1963. Sam Blacketer (talk) 18:59, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

The Modern Language Journal[edit]

The full relevant excerpt of the 1944 article, reads:

"Isms Isolated. [section title]
The following definitions of isms, used in a political campaign in Chicago some years ago, are obviously unorthodox, but they are unusually specific, anything but abstract, and of telegraphic brevity. The objection to them is simply that they have something to "sell," something else to condemn, and that volumes pro and con have been written about these things. The definitions are: Socialism-If you have two cows, you give one to your neighbor. Communism-If you have two cows, you give them to the Government and the Government then gives you some milk. Fascism-If you have two cows, you keep the cows and give the milk to the Government; then the Government sells you some milk. New Dealism-If you have two cows, you shoot one and milk the other; then you pour the milk down the drain. Naziism-If you have two cows, the Government shoots you and keeps the cows. Capitalism-If you have two cows, you sell one and buy a bull."

For future reference. (Also, our sentence introducing these examples, from this source, needs to be improved.) -- Quiddity (talk) 21:26, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Picture caption[edit]

Currently it reads "Two bovine animals possibly grazing what may be a field". Anyone want to propose a more reasonable one? (talk) 16:31, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Now it's just 'Two cows' but the French article has a much better caption: "Voici vos deux vaches…" "Here are your two cows..." (Tout sonne mieux en français.) Snezzy (talk) 12:40, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
I actually, in my quest to appease that one IP who seems to be very picky, gave it a more serious and relevant caption. ViperSnake151  Talk  14:51, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

More Ideas[edit]

I found this, maybe you could use it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:57, 29 December 2013 (UTC)