The Abused News, Part 2


Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.

Writing topical humor is a bit like riding a bicycle. Once you learn how, you can pretty much ride at will until dementia forces you back onto training wheels. However, riding a bicycle is not the same as understanding how one works.

CAUTION: Long, fairly boring quote ahead:

A simple explanation does not seem possible because the lean and steer are coupled by a combination of several effects including gyroscopic precession, lateral ground reaction forces at the front wheel ground contact point trailing behind the steering axis, gravity and inertial reactions from the front assembly having centre-of-mass offset from the steer axis, and from effects associated with the moment of inertia matrix of the front assembly.
Linearized dynamics equations for the balance and steer of a bicycle: a benchmark and review – J.P Meijaard, et al.

Meanwhile, other scientists readily admit that they don’t know how a bicycle works, as in this article by Michael Brooks, who holds a PhD in quantum physics.

So, if topical humor is like riding a bicycle, does that mean no one really knows how it works?

Possibly.

However, let’s skip the philosophy and focus on a few things that we do know:

LIMITED SHELF LIFE
Topical humor may be old by the end of a news cycle. Political humor, in particular, ages at about the same rate as ripe melons. Today’s breakfast can be tomorrow’s garbage. There are however two caveats to this characteristic:

1. Some jokes about people, including politicians, are non-specific. That is, applicable to anyone, at any time.

Unfortunately for Senator Cruz, there’s no little blue pill for debate performance. I can’t comment on any other possible benefits as he was standing behind a lectern.

2. Events repeat. Disasters, contested elections, mayhem, crimes, foreign policy flubs, etc. repeat in human history, and therefore in the news of the day. For example, the macabre jokes told about the Hindenburg disaster (1937) might easily apply to 9/11/2001.

I’ll bet they won’t fly that airline again.

MORE EVERYDAY
Topics come in endless supply. Newspapers, magazines, television, the Internet, advertising, etc. provide the writer with subjects from politics to celebrity news to economics to….everything and anything. Even on a slow news day, something is happening somewhere.

North Korea’s medium-range missile test apparently failed due to a severe overload. A government spokesman stated, “Our prototype missile was never designed to seat 436 escaping defectors.”

VIEWS NOT NEWS
Journalists report the news. Humorists report views and punchlines. Truth is irrelevant, and lying like a rug is perfectly acceptable.

Asked about his pick for vice president, Donald Trump said, “I pledged to run the government like a business. We’ll hire a temp.”

ON PUBLIC FIGURES
Yes, public figures are fair game. However, humor is not carte blanche to be mean-spirited. Granted, this is subjective, but audiences generally fail to find humor in what they consider a below-the-belt attack (such as, attacks on spouse, children, race, ethnicity, etc.). Think!—the goal of a joke is to amuse your audience, NOT alienate them. When in doubt, lighten up.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan declined to join the presidential race, stating, “Please, I’m from Wisconsin. I know cheesy when I see it.”

Cover image: "Sexual Evolution"LEARN TO LOVE CONTROVERSY
People are going to discuss controversial topics whether you address them or not. Avoiding them is pointless.

Remember also, well-crafted humor helps heal open wounds, and an obvious joke will not be taken seriously by any rational person. So, when the ship of state appears to be sinking, it’s okay to remind the passengers that dinner service will be delayed.

Fortunately, all of the injuries sustained at the Trump rally were covered by Obamacare.

NEVER OFFSIDES
Are you conservative or liberal?

Who cares? We’re all human and we’re all funny. Never fear taking on all sides of an issue. Don’t limit yourself.

Bernie Sanders further clarified his plan to make college for America’s youth debt free, stating that reimbursements for amenities would be limited to heat, air conditioning, and domestic beer.

With just a bit of practice, topical humor is easy and a great deal of fun. It’s also perfect for articles, blogs, emails, and even conversations. Once you’ve caught the topical humor bug, you’ll never look at the news the same way again.

Parting Funny: The trouble with some women is they get all excited about nothing—and then they marry him.Cher
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