Apple is temporarily closing its 42 stores in China because of the coronavirus. Now any Chinese citizen who wants an iPhone will have to ask their child to make them one.
How I wrote it:
I was attracted to this news item because it’s related to the coronavirus epidemic, a big story.
I used my Punch Line Maker #3–Ask a question about the topic–asking myself the natural question “How will people in China get iPhones now?”
To create a punch line, I focused on the topic handle “China.” In my mind, “China” is associated with “makes iPhones,” which has the sub-association “uses child labor.” And that sub-association became the basis of a punch line that answers my original question.
Do children still work in Chinese iPhone factories, like those run by Foxconn? I think so, based on an internet search. But what matters more to the joke’s effectiveness is only whether most people would believe that children still work in Chinese iPhone factories. And I thought that most people would, given the news stories I’ve read on the subject and the jokes I’ve heard over the last ten years or so.
Notice that the joke topic has three possible handles–“Apple,” “China,” and “coronavirus.” I never considered using that last one, because it would have been too hard to write an acceptable joke based on the associations of “coronavirus.” At this point, most of those associations would probably call to mind disturbing details of the outbreak that would make people reluctant to laugh.