Indexed, Freakonomics Edition

I am a fan of the blog Indexed, on which a young Ohio copywriter named Jessica Hagy creates sweet and simple graphical pictures, on index cards, that tell a story. The blog allows her, she writes, to “make fun of some things and sense of others. I use it to think a little more relationally without resorting to doing actual math.”

She will publish a book of her Indexed work in early 2008. In the meantime, she has agreed to create some Freakonomics-ish Indexed pieces for our blog. Because her pieces often seem to speak to each other, we’ll run them in pairs.

Here is the first pair. We hope you enjoy.



Mario Ruiz

Hi Stephen.

In the "Most Funny Jokes" card, although sarcasms can be considered funny, please answer the question.

I guy in the Yankee Stadium falls from the stairs down. While everybody laughs, he end up on the floor dead.

The question: when did the joke end?

Mario Ruiz


See? I told you the best jokes came from short people!


I'd venture a gander that not only do "most funny jokes" fall between the "short", "brutish", and "nasty", but so do the ones that get the jokster in the most trouble.

I.e. racist, sexist, stereotypical. etc.

But in our world, isn't that what makes it funny to most people? (Barring the excessive ones which are malicious in intent)


I think in the first one she should add "HEAD ON! APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD!".


Those aren't the funniest jokes, they are the cheapest.

Michael Starke

Lexi: not "most funny" as in the funniest jokes, but that of the jokes that happen to be funny, most of them are also be nasty, brutish, and short.


I always believed that the most funny jokes involved midgets. It is good to know one other human being believes as I do.


Cheap as they may be (and usually are, I will definitely agree with you there), they tend to be the most popular.

Why is that? (Just a thought that has an answer...somewhere.)


It may not be funny, but at least it makes you think.


Well, as the saying goes, Pain + Time = Comedy

I think that's why sarcasm really picked up in popularity after David Letterman came on the national scene and showed how to easily take something only a moment old, show that it was painful, and then make something good and funny out of it rather than something mean. The best comedy is, I think, a form of sympathy and solidarity.

The problem is that it's VERY easy to fall on the wrong side of the line and wind up being offensive and mean when you didn't intend to be.


I totally agree with Nathanial. Take Don Imus for example; his "joke" wasn't a joke to others.

The comedians who find it effortless to walk that imaginary "don't go too far or its offensive" line are the ones we typically find the funniest.

Dr. Troy Camplin

I once heard Frederick Turner say that that was Hobbes' description of children: nasty, brutish, and short. Sounds like an apt description of the 5 children between the ages of 3 and 6 that were at my house all of last week.

As for comedy, we laugh at those we consider to be morally below us, and with those who we consider to be morally with us.


I do hope Jessica Hagy gives Hugh Macleod (the blogcards at Gaping Void) a cut. Then again, Hugh is in marketing, so having ideas nicked is probably business as usual for him.


13: Thanks for posting about the blogcards at Gaping Void, it looks pretty funny as well. Jessica is doing Venn diagrams rather than cartoons per se, so I think that's significantly different.

Re: Jessica publishing a book - has she thought about putting her work in a daily calendar format? Maybe one where you didn't have to peel off the previous day, but just flip it to the back...


After looking at her site, I'll add that Jessica also has graphs and a few cartoons - but come on, it's markedly different.


my favorite two blogs come together!


I will be using this in my classroom. Love it.

Caleb Powers

This is the wittiest thing I've seen in a long time. Keep it up!


TerryW (14). A lot of the blog cards were of venn diagrams and pie charts. Here's a link from January of 04, you'll have to scroll down a bit. warning - His cartoons are much meaner and cruder, in general.

David Boyk

This is a lot like my brilliant cousin Craig Damrauer's book, New Math: Equations for Living: