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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 16, 2005 / 15 Kislev, 5766

Humor Cop: Just the cracks, ma'am

By Gene Weingarten


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I write for the great and powerful Washington Post, but my accomplishments seldom seem as important as those of my colleagues. Whereas my stories have led to enraged letters from crayon-wielding lunatics, my colleagues' stories have led to congressional investigations. They've gotten people fired. They've even put people in jail.


I admit to penal envy. That is why I am always on the lookout for major social injustices that happen on my "beat," so I can pursue them with tough-guy, Woodwardian fervor. One promising lead arrived the other day, in a box with a familiar pleasant fragrance but the acrid stench of scandal. I got on the phone immediately and asked for customer service.


Lynn: Topps.


Me: I want to talk to the person responsible for Bazooka Joe comics.


Lynn: No one ever asked me that before.


Me: I can't say that I'm surprised, ma'am. Some things you just don't want to go poking around into, unless you're paid to.


Lynn: I can tell you how to get Bazooka Joe T-shirts . . .


Me: No, ma'am. Just the comics. Someone's got to answer for them.


Lynn: I'll have to switch you to New York.


Me: I've got time. I'm an investigative humorist.


Nicole Palmieri: This is Nicole Palmieri.


Me: I want to talk to the person responsible for Bazooka Joe.


Nicole: That's me. I'm the brand manager for Bazooka.


Me: I have a potentially explosive issue here, ma'am, and I want to give you a fair opportunity to respond.


Nicole: Okay.


Me: I received the following joke wrapped around a brick of Bazooka bubble gum purchased during the second week of November 2005. I chose this at random from among a dozen others displaying similar degrees of creativity and hilarity. Joe is in a restaurant. He complains there is a fly in his soup, and asks what it's doing there. The waiter says, "Well, offhand, I'd say that it's swimming!" My question is: Can you supply a good reason why you, as the person responsible, should not be incarcerated?


Nicole: Ha-ha!


Me: I'm glad you find this funny, ma'am.


Nicole:


Me: Your product is often children's first exposure to written humor. What if their entire sense of humor winds up being shaped by recycled, Depression-era jokes that were never funny to begin with and became even more rancid over time, pungent with the odor of decomposing inanity? What if, 30 years from now, when these children are the head writers for "Saturday Night Live," they do skits about idiots throwing clocks out the window to see time fly?


Nicole: This is a piece you are doing?


Me: Yes, ma'am, I am an investigative humorist.


Nicole: This is very odd.


Me:


Nicole: Well, we are going to be re-launching the comics in a big way this spring. To make them more relevant. That was a classic joke from the '50s.


Me: Okay, fair enough. Here's a more recent one. Zena is ordering a dress over the phone. She is asked for her credit card number and her expiration date, and she responds: "How do I know how long I'm going to live?"


Nicole: I think that's cute. These are funny, in a simplistic way.


Me: Let me rephrase my original question, then. Is there a level of humor lower than Bazooka Joe comics? I think we can agree their level is lower than your basic knock-knock joke, but, from an intellectual standpoint, is it also lower than, say, tickling someone till they pee? In terms of absolute infantilism, is it lower than peekaboo? Is there a joke so lame, so desiccated, so devoid of irony or surprise that you would declare it beneath Bazooka Joe?


Nicole: Yes!


Me: How about this joke: "Where does Santa go on vacation?"


Nicole:


Me: You have to ask me where.


Nicole: Where?


Me: "A ho-ho-hotel." Would that make the cut?


Nicole: No.


Me: So you say.


Nicole:


Me: Do you think I am being unfair, here?


Nicole: Yes. At least I hope I've humored you.


Me: A lot more than the comics, ma'am.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Gene Weingarten writes the Below the Beltway humor column for The Washington Post. To comment, please click here.


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