SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
I made a promise that I would attempt to go back to humor when I wrote my September 11th column. The reasoning: This is a humor column.
Still, it’s hard to forget that we’re at war.
Ha, see what I did there? I made a joke already! Lots of people have forgotten we’re at war. Extremists are cutting a swath across the Arab world, gaining power by the second and threatening pretty much everyone, yet we’ve somehow managed to convince ourselves that it has nothing to do with the rest of the world. If Americans had this much self-denial in other areas, we’d all be well within our body mass index goals. And I’d be off the M&M’s.
Still, it occurs to me that humor is needed during bad times, even more than during good times. Over in Iraq, the ISIS people hold a weekly comic open mike night, every Wednesday at seven if they’re not busy beheading infidels.
On a related note, if you go on the comedy stage over there, I suggest you be well rehearsed. Believe me; it’s not a good idea to bomb.
Anyway, I was thinking maybe I could start making fun of the Muslim extremists who want to convert or kill every human being on the planet, because how funny is that? Plenty of room for belly laughs, there.
The key is that, so far as I can tell, extremists have absolutely no sense of humor. At least, not about themselves. Sure, they think blowing up New Jersey is hysterical, and who doesn’t? But make one joke about airdropping a pig farm on Tehran, and they go hog wild. So I’m thinking I could do my part in this war by poking fun at them until they get so mad they make a mistake, like accidentally touching the red wire to the blue wire during terrorist training camp.
It’s hard to come up with original material. The bad guys change, but the jokes remain the same. Here’s one I’ve heard dozens of times, with different characters each time:
Hitler and Göring are standing atop the Berlin radio tower. Hitler says he wants to do something to put a smile on Berliners’ faces. So Göring says: ‘Why don’t you jump?’
I didn’t make that up: It’s an actual WWII era joke, maybe the first version of that one. The newer versions are usually in an airplane, though. I know what you’re thinking: “What are they doing on a radio tower?” I don’t know … counting swastikas? Don’t ask questions, it’s a joke.
See, it’s funny and tasteless for the same reasons: Hitler was really evil. By the same token, it’s okay to make jokes about extremists, who in the case of this particular war happen to be Muslim. It is not okay to make jokes about Muslim moderates, because they don’t want to kill everyone and take over the world. The good news is, according to a Muslim website, 93% of Muslims are not extremists. The bad news is, 7% of a billion people is … let’s see …
A lot of people.
Actually, if my calculator is correct, that’s a mere 70 million extremists. For comparison, over the course of all of WWII the German military recruited a whole 18 million, so not to worry. Of course, the Germans had the support of the Italians. Sort of.
I don’t follow this theory some people have that any Muslim is a bad Muslim. For one thing, I have Muslim friends, and any friend of mine is automatically a good person. For another thing, I’m a Christian—and I’m a way different person from those evil morons at Westboro Baptist, who go around picketing funerals and telling everyone they’re going to Hell for watching “Jersey Shores”.
Having said that, I should point out that you are going to hell if you watch “Jersey Shores”. At least, if you watch more than two episodes.
Not wanting to offend moderate Muslims led me to give up my original plan: to paint a giant caricature of Muhammad wearing Groucho glasses on the side of my house. Well, that, and the neighbors’ latest petition.
The more I read about it, the more I realize the extremists over there don’t know any more about Islam than Fred Phelps and his hysterical followers knew about Christianity. Can all religions, and the non-religious, live in peace together? Sure we can … as long as a group isn’t strapping bombs to their kids and sending them into shops full of other kids because they think it will get them 72 virgins. How many virgins do you need, anyway?
By the way, the specific idea 72 virgins for suicide bombers is a myth. We don’t need to make up crazy things about extremists—they’re doing just fine all by themselves. And if you’re thinking of blowing yourself up anyway, I’d point out that there’s no guarantee the virgins are female, or even human. Maybe half are male computer geeks, and the rest are hamsters. You could spend all eternity picking up hamster droppings and Doctor Pepper cans.
The point is, when a group of people decide they’re going to convert the whole world to their way of thinking, or blow it up, you can’t just ignore them. Next thing you know they’re on Main Street, burning your joke books and your whole collection of Pauly Shore movies.
Oh, wait! I just had a brilliant idea. Get information about terrorists by torturing prisoners of war with … Pauly Shore movies!
After that we may still not admit we’re at war—but they’ll sure know it.