WASHINGTON, DC – Joshes of the world unite to protest the use of the phrase “Just Joshing”
Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of Joshes and non-Joshes alike gathered in Washington D.C. to raise awareness about the fact that Joshes can be serious. For over 100 years the phrase “just joshing” has been synonymous with teasing, playful banter and all around tom foolery.
The rally has been almost five years in the making by Josh Thompson, founder of Joshes Earnestly Standing Together (JEST) the organizing group behind the protest. In early 2006 Thompson started a Facebook page for JEST.
As popularity quickly grew he knew that he had to take it to the next level. Thompson immediately shifted into high gear rallying as many Joshes as he knew for what he calls the Million Josh March. Shortly after he began the drive to liberate Joshes from their funny prison, Josh Groban wrote the hit song, “You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up)” after being inspired by Thompson’s quest. Groban performed at the rally bringing tears to the eyes of many Joshes in the crowd.
Merriam-Webster defines josh as: to engage in banter or to tease good-naturedly. The origin of the phrase, however, is somewhat of a mystery. There are two schools of thought with respect to its origins. Several Joshes believe that the use of the phrase began when a deaf American named Josh Tatum passed off ambiguous nickels as five dollar gold coins when purchasing goods from general stores in the late 1800s.
He purchased items that cost exactly a nickel in hopes of receiving $4.95 in change from the vendor, giving birth to the phrase as the act was likening to a prank or joke. However, with the story having a great sense of folklore and urban legend, most Joshes believe that the phrase is derived from the merging of the words ‘joke’ and ‘bosh.’
Thompson addressed the crowd stating, “There are many famous noteworthy Joshes throughout history that have not been jokesters. There’s the famous Indian poet Josh Malihabadi, U2’s socially and politically conscious album, The Joshua Tree and of course The Book of Joshua from the Bible as the famous author Josh Billings once wrote, ‘Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute.’ But we will not remain silent today in order to win this battle. Folks, we aren’t kidding around.”