Chatological Humor Update

Jun 06, 2012

Gene's Chatological Humor updates usually take place every Tuesday at Noon ET. They will resume their normal schedule next week on Tuesday, June 12. Thank you.

Every Tuesday, Gene publishes weekly updates to his chats.

- Gene's latest chat

Greetings, update readers.  I am weirdly ambivalent about the election results in Wisconsin.  On the one hand, I despise what Governor Walker has done.  I think it is demagogic union-busting, pure and simple, by a high-wing political ideologue. But I also don't think this election should have happened: I don't think you hold recalls because you don't like an officeholder's policies or politics.  Recalls should not be a tool of partisan politics:  They should be reserved for criminality or gross incompetence.  This just reeks politically, reminiscent of the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. History has not been kind to the mob that impeached Johnson.

Plus, um, as a strategy it backfired horribly.       

Gene. I've been having problems with my vision and getting a good prescription. I find that my eyes change during the day. Is this normal? Thanks.

You may have varying pressure within your eyeball, changing its shape.   You need to see a good opthalmologist.   I sleep with a pillow over my eyes, and sometimes I wake up with blurry vision; the pillow has squashed my eyeballs, changing the focal point.  Sometimes it takes an hour to correct. 

Just to make sure I understand, anyone who volunteers for a dangerous, life threatening job is a hero, even if he's actually never in any danger? So all policemen are heroes? All firemen? All enisted men, even if they serve only in peacetime? Is that a correct analysis of your position?

Nope, not at all. 

Anyone who volunteers for combat duty in wartime and dies in active combat.   I'd call that heroic.    Sure.    The odds of your death are hugly greater than if you were a cop, or a fireman, or a soldier at a stateside desk job. 

My mother said I looked just like her, and she very obviously thought she was plain. Poor you, you look like me. It was only years after I moved away from home and developed more self confidence that I realized she was wrong. Her view of herself was her problem, not mine, and I realize now it came from long standing depression issues. My daughter has always been beautiful. I never told her so, but many, many other people have. My reluctance to state how beautiful she is comes from what my mother said about me, and slowly, slowly, I'm letting go of that ugly label

I'm publishing this because I kept coming back to it and thinking, okay, this is interesting. 

I read today that Cynthia Nixon and her girlfriend got married this weekend. If you ever fear you will never have a romantic relationship because of your looks, please go search for a picture of them. Maybe some people find her girlfriend attractive, but i totally admit I wasted an afternoon away because I couldn't figure out how a woman as hot as Cynthia Nixon ended up with her girlfriend (who really, really, really, looks liks an unattractive man). Once I got past my astonishment, it actually gave me a lot of hope!

That is, does he say Feb-u-ary?

Here is how dictionaries have become complicit in our national disgrace:  Feb-u-erry is now listed. 

This is the E.T. Phenomonon. The being from Steve Spielberg's E.T. was clearly UGLY, but it's personality and blight won the audience over to the point that we found it to be cute - really cute. How much we like someone clearly changes how we see him/her.

I call it the Lincoln phenomenon. 

In his day, it was pretty well understood -- Linc made jokes about it -- that he was a hugely ugly man.

I'm a liberal but am really annoyed by this unwillingness (you're right, it's almost cartoonish) to recognize members of the military as heroes. I have always assumed it's because they don't agree with the cause, which I just think is ridiculous. It's in large part because the men and women who serve do so knowing that it's irrelevant whether they agree with the cause that makes them heroic.

I consider myself, physically, a coward.    I have intellectual bravery by physical cowardice.   I deeply respect those who will wade into something important, in which they could get hurt or worse.   

can possibly indicate heroism; merely putting in a uniform does not.

Well, the debate on this issue was whether it is okay to call the war DEAD heroes.   

But I'd go so far as to say putting on a uniform, and wading into combat is grounds enough. 

I would love to know your opinion on the passengers of United 93 on 9/11/01? Many call them heroes since they stormed the cockpit. I call them victims - like those in the towers. Yes, the prevented additional loss of life but did so knowing they would die anyway. To me, a hero is a person who enters the burning building from a safe place to save somebody. A hero is NOT a person who is in the burning building and saves somebody on their way out. If they keep going back in, then they are a hero.

I agree with you, but there is a corollary.  It's an interesting one.   I'm not sure that heroism need always involve a choice, but the exceptions are few.  

I'm willing, for example, to extend "hero" to Chesley Sullenberger, even though he was mostly involved in saving his own life.     It's a close call but he is a man who found himself under extraordinary pressure -- a situation in which others might have panicked, or made bad choices -- and  came through, saving many lives.  I'll go there. 

On Flight 93?  Brave, desperate people doing what they had to do to survive.   I respect them.   Wouldn't call em heroes. 

I have a family member who most would consider a hero. He was on the USS Indianapolis when it went down in WWII. He and his shipmates who survived the blast and the sinking of the ship were in the water for five days until they were rescued. 1,196 were on board. 316 were rescued. He hates to be called a hero. Hates it. Insists that he isn't. I don't really know where I am going with this, I guess just to say that I would far prefer to be in a room with a bunch of 80-year-old plus veterans who insist that they aren't heroes, than one numbskull 30-year-old who agrees.

Well put.    I love your last line. 


What do you think of his humor? He has been out promoting a new movie. I can't stand him because it is cruel the way he mocks ordinary people.

I think he is a one-trick pony, and his trick involves crapping on people.   I have lost patience with him. 


in your last update you stated that you would be fine if the Rib had sex with a female but it would be different if she had sex with a man.. per you - sex is NOT just sex. Yes, the girls could sexually give the Rib something you could not... but so could a man depending on size/talents/desires.... Furthermore - and the reason I would consider any non-preauthorized extra-marital activity by my spouse (regardless of gender of the play-mate) to be infidelity is that love can develop during such activity. You are making the presumption that the Rib (and by extension other woman in a heterosexual relationship) will not or cannot fall in love with their female play-mate. Woman can/will/and have done so, and such love can destroy marriages.

I didn't say I'd be HAPPY if The Rib had a lesbian affair; I said I'd be less unhappy than if it were with a man.   The difference is a level of competition -- a declaration of preference.   

And yes, I know that a sexual relationship could lead to -- or coexist with -- an emotional relationship and love.     If that happened, it would happen.   You can't chain your spouse's heart.   

I agree that women are more likely to find your doofiness attractive. Doofiness in a woman is not considered an asset, as I speak from a doofy-female perspective. I'm also overweight, slightly hairy (thanks PCOS!) and feel awful about myself 95% of the time. The poll did nothing to help that. My bigger issue is that modern media gives us all of these instances of non-Brad Pitt types with hot wives. Even dumb antacid commercials. Maybe I would feel better if there was a show on TV with a less than perfect woman and a really hot, but not dumb, dude. I'm dreaming on that one aren't I?

I have an observation after reading several hundred unpublished posts from the last chat.   It makes me sad, and feeling guilty for the general state of society. 

Dozens and dozens of women wrote in on the issue of appearance in posts like yours, describing their appearance in detail, apologizing for those areas in which they fail to measure up to some perceived ideal.   Some were bothered by it, some were not, some had a very positive attitude, some had the opposite, but clearly appearance is uppermost in their minds. 

No male described himself.  

I'm so sorry, ladies.   This is very unfair. 

See you all next week in the updates. 

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Gene Weingarten
Gene Weingarten is the humor writer for The Washington Post. His column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in the Post's Sunday magazine since July 2000 and has been distributed nationwide on The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.
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