No Offense

This column occasionally makes people angry, if by “occasionally” we mean “all the time” and if by “people” we mean “sticks in the mud” and if by “angry” we mean “angry.”

One sentiment we hear very frequently from callers and letter-writers is that they usually enjoy “Snide Remarks” — but THIS TIME, I’ve gone too far. In other words, “I used to think you were funny, until you made fun of something I liked. Then you stopped being funny.”

This is actually not as absurd as it sounds. (At least, I hope it sounds absurd.) Most people don’t laugh when something hits close to home. Mel Brooks said, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when YOU fall into an open manhole and die.” If we feel too attached to the thing, we’re not as likely to find humor in it as we would if there were some distance.

Which is why, believe it or not, most of the things I say in this column are said with the assumption that most readers will agree with me, or at least partially agree with me. Enough to find the jokes funny, anyway. Think about it: If I wrote with the INTENTION of making everyone mad, well, where’s the humor in that? People don’t laugh when they’re angry. They holler and cry and misspell words.

But despite my best efforts, some columns upset a lot of people. So today, I’m only going to present opinions that absolutely EVERYONE will agree with. (Well, almost everyone. There’s always that one percent whose opinions don’t line up with anyone else’s, like the people who DIDN’T think it was silly when LaVerkin banned the U.N. We can do nothing to accommodate these people, except to back away slowly and not make any sudden moves.)

So what’s the deal with murderers? I don’t think we ought to be killing each other unless we have a really, really good reason. And if someone does kill someone else, then he (the killer) should have to stand trial and account for his actions.

Don’t you just hate when you order something at a restaurant, and then the waitress brings the WRONG THING? That drives me up the wall! I mean, hey: If I WANTED the chicken, I would have ORDERED the chicken!

Recently I was out driving when my car broke down. You buy a car, and you expect it to run properly, and then it breaks. Isn’t life just a kick in the pants?

Canadians, on a whole, are a friendly group of people. Hard-working, honest, patriotic — that’s the Canadian way.

Some people have issues with people from other countries moving to the United States and bringing their native languages and cultures with them. But you know what I think? I’m just glad I live in a country that people WANT to move to! You don’t see people immigrating to Afghanistan, do you? Except that misguided John Walker character, who might be a traitor and who might just be a troubled young man, but in either case, I’m glad he finally got a haircut!

Watching TV, I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of commercials are insulting to my intelligence. “BUT WAIT!” they yell at me. “THERE’S MORE!” OK, I’m waiting. Tell me what’s so great about your product, Mr. Commercial Man!

Say what you will about fast-food employees, but one thing’s for sure: French fries are one of the best snacks around.

I hope I have not offended anyone today. Next time, we’ll discuss why all Canadians should be rounded up and shot.

Weary from all the tow-truck flak, I dusted off this old idea, which I conceived ages ago but never wrote. My intent was two-fold: one, to actually write a column that wouldn't get any negative feedback; and two, to demonstrate that it is impossible to be funny AND not offend anyone. The very nature of humor is that it will bother someone; comedy, as Steve Martin put it, is not pretty.

(By the way, I don't view "this isn't funny" as negative feedback. It just means it wasn't funny to that person, and I can live with that.)

La Verkin is a silly little town in southern Utah that banned the United Nations in the summer of 2001. They passed a city ordinance that made it illegal to fly U.N. flags, and for the actual U.N. to enter the city limits. (Because for sure the U.N. was planning to stop there on a field trip one day.) It was only by sheer schedule limitations that I never got around to writing about it at the time. Several months later, they reversed the policy, possibly because they realized it violated pretty much every single line of the U.S. Constitution.

"What's the deal with murderers?" was originally "What's the deal with rapists?" That one never even made it past my brain, though, because -- and this is strange -- it is more socially acceptable to joke about murder than it is to joke about rape. Murder is pretty commonly accepted in our society; plenty of our TV and movie heroes do it, but if one of them ever rapes, he becomes a bad guy. Interesting, isn't it?