Tuesdays with Moron: Chatological Humor Update

Feb 12, 2013

Every Tuesday, Gene publishes weekly updates to his chats.

- Gene's latest chat

On one Tuesday each month, Gene is online to take your questions and abuse. He will chat about anything. Although this chat is sometimes updated between live shows, it is not and never will be a "blog," even though many persons keep making that mistake. One reason for the confusion is the Underpants Paradox: Blogs, like underpants, contain "threads," whereas this chat contains no "threads" but, like underpants, does sometimes get funky and inexcusable.

Greetings, update readers. A short update today -- I answer excess questions from the last full chat -- but with an intriguing question to begin. What were you doing on Sunday, Dec. 28, 1986?  Do you have any idea? Was it odd? Interesting? 

If you actually know, email me at weingarten@washpost.com.

If you find it and post it, you will have more fans than you will ever know.

This?  Surely not. 

So was Mozart and his whole family. Peter Shaffer didn't make that part up.

Yes, absolutely true.  Mozart's letters to his mother and sister were full of scatology.   He was particularly obsessed with the odd notion of pooping in one's bed. 

From your column: "Sure, as severance packages go, this one seems Bobbitt-like in its overkill. " Are your referring to Lorena Bobbitt? Or Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt?

You don't think "severance package" was a clue? 

did you ever read E. B. White's piece on the world not being the same ever again because the Sears catalog had stopped carrying parts for the Model T Ford?

Here it is.  Absolutely magnificent.    He wrote it in 1936. 

And indeed, it is not just a horrible, violent, disgusting act that happens all the time, it is one that many people are ok with. And when you encounter a rape joke, no matter what the content of the context, you know that there are people, probably even some of the people you think you can trust, who think rape jokes are funny and that rape is not really that big a deal.

You know, I think there are men who creepily find rape humor funny, but I doubt there are many men who actually think rape -- as they understand rape -  is not that big a deal.   The problem is, there are men who think certain kinds of rape -- date rape, marital rape, rape with no physical resistance -- are not "real" rape.   These men are guilty of gross misundersanting of, and insensitivity to, the nature of rape.    

Have you seen this?

This is terrific, way better than the female version.  These guys are better actors.   Interestingly, after watching the female one -- here -- men get into a debate on whether / how many of the actresses are actually gay.   I don't think there's much of a debate on the guy one. 

About thirty years ago, a friend shot a hole-in-one at a charity golf tournament and won a red Maserati bi-turbo. A real beauty, which he couldn't afford to keep. I went to test drive it and was shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover that it had automatic transmission. I would have been embarrassed to drive it.

Wow.  Getting a Maserati with authomatic is like ordering a whiskey sour with $100-a-bottle bourbon.   Or filet mignon well done.   

I think funny rape jokes are funny, and I was raped once. Even if I didn't think they were funny, should humor be censored? Isn't the funniest stuff horribly offensive? If you don't want to be offended, stay away from humor. If you go to stand up, deal with it. It's funny to someone.

I'm definitely against censorship, but I don't really see your point.  A sick racist, objectively unfunny joke will, in fact, be funny to a racist simply because it confirms his pinheaded worldview.   Because it is funny to SOMEONE doesn't mean it's funny, or appropriate.  

I tell racial jokes, among friends, making fun of all sorts of ethnic groups.   But there's an unstated objective rule: It has to be funny on its own terms.  The more racial the joke, the higher the "funny" bar. 

I don't buy your argument that everything is okay because it's okay to someone. 

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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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