Jennifer Haberkorn

A Joke That Isn’t Funny

Inside New Orleans Planned Parenthood clinic. (Detail of photo by Bryan Tarnowski for The New York Times)

“It strikes me as extremely odd that you have a dermatologist, an audiologist, a dentist who are billing for family planning services.”

Judge John DeGravelles

And, yet, the hidden jewel is one you might overlook if you’re not careful. Molly Redden of Mother Jones tops His Honor, wondering the obvious: “They know vagina dentata is a myth, right?”

It’s a fair question, given the Louisiana proposal to do away with Planned Parenthood in the Pelican State and expect other providers to pick up the load.

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Ebola Humor, or, the American Discourse

There are those who would readily suggest that laughter is the best medicine, but we’re told that doesn’t apply to appendectomy recuperation. Nonetheless, perhaps there would be some benefit in considering the potential of laughter as a public health issue.

That is to say, it really is not appropriate to wish ill onto others. That is to suggest one ought not hope their inverse-favorite hypocritical Congressman or U.S. Senator who wailed and cried about how the president had too many policy czars and even went so far as to introduce legislation to sunset every appointed czar on a timetable and regardless of conditions on the ground and then went on to demand an Ebola czar because it was easier than explaining why Republicans refuse to confirm the nominated Surgeon General should actually have to come face to face with an ebolite suicide bomber wearing Daa’ish colors, while also acknowledging that yes, there are actually people in the world who would laugh if that happened and it’s not exactly hard to understand why.

Oh, yeah.  It's triggered by pessimistic assumptions.I don’t know, is that sentence going to collapse on itself like the World Trade Center?

What’s that? Too soon? Okay, okay, okay. But it’s true that some sort of unfortunate, ghoulish, cruel joke really does seem needed here. So … er … ah … right.

Or maybe chuckling over the idea that, say, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA1) wants a promotion to the U.S. Senate.

Actually, that’s a pretty fun joke right now; he took out Rep. Paul “Pit of Hell” Broun (R-GA10), who is vacationing away the waning months of his Congressional tenure while fearmongering ebola in order to pitch for a conservative super PAC. And polling averages show Kingston trailing his Democratic opponent, Michelle Nunn, by two points.

Still, though, wait ’til November to laugh. The polling data is thin, and this is Georgia, after all.

Oh, right. Jokes. Humor. Laughter. Public health.

You know what would be great for public health during this ebola crisis? If everyone just laughed at people like Jack Kingston. You know, break the tension, blow some steam, so we can get back to serious considerations.

____________________

Huber, Adam. “You Can’t Spell ‘Pandemic’ Without ‘Panic'”. Bug Martini. 16 October 2014.

Maddow, Rachel. “GOP forgets anti-czar nonsense, calls for Ebola czar”. The Rachel Maddow Show. msnbc. 17 October 2014.

Haberkorn, Jennifer. “Rep. Paul Broun: Send money, stop Ebola”. Politico. 17 October 2014.

Armchair Political Theatre

The House has hired a new lawyer to prosecute its lawsuit against President Obama after previous counsel bowed out, citing political pressure, the House Administration Committee confirmed on Friday (David M. Drucker, 19 September 2014)

The question does arise at some point whether anybody but the wonks and politigeeks are paying attention. And a notion does mutter and creep about insinuating all manner of analogy ‘twixt political talk radio and sports radio. But setting aside the elderly woman who once railed against local sports radio hosts because laughing at the idea of stock car racing—Go fast! Turn left!—was somehow akin to “what happened to the ‘Coloreds'”, there is a different sort of comparison. That is to say, one might have far more associates who listen to sports radio without ever calling in, but discuss various issues with enthusiasm and detail verging on the excruciating. They might not be calling in to compare NASCAR to the Civil Rights movement, but they will talk their favorite teams and leagues as if the soul of the world depends on whether or not this or that trade makes sense, or the subtleties of whether this power-hitting manager knows how to handle his pitchers.

Try it this way: Once you move beyond that majority portion of the audience who just, say, learned Roger Goodell’s name this month, or found that American pro sports leagues have ‘commissioners’, you might find some who are willing to give you an in-depth analysis of, for instance, how David Stern screwed Seattle twice, or what the NBA commissioner has to do with the politics of getting an NHL franchise in the Emerald City.

Imagine if people paid that kind of attention to public affairs. No slam dunks, merely metaphorical five-holes, and considerably less domestic violence; public affairs just aren’t sexy … well, unless there’s a sex scandal going on.

But to the armchair wonks, David M. Drucker’s lede for the Washington Examiner last Friday is hilarious:

The House has hired a new lawyer to prosecute its lawsuit against President Obama after previous counsel bowed out, citing political pressure, the House Administration Committee confirmed on Friday.

It is, to a degree, jaw-dropping news. Then again, the drooling astonishment is really more of a cumulative effect.

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