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Friday, May 6, 2016

Basic Biittner: Humor

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

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The recent flap concerning a remark made by long-time radio talk guy Don Imus on his show has been the "topic of the week" in the news recently - almost, but not quite - pushing the paternity of A.N. Smith's baby out of the spotlight.

I used to be a regular listener to "The I-Man," but stopped because I lost my AM radio source. As a former listener, I'm fairly familiar with his humor and his style. And, yes, I think he is a "good man," as he tried to state the other day in his own defense. His Imus Ranch for kids who have serious illnesses is, I feel, one of the best things going for these kids.

I feel Imus probably "stepped over the line" (wherever this imaginary line is) with his comments the other day about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, and no, he does not know the young women personally.

But, I ask you this. How much of humor in America is based on making fun of others? And how often has the comedian, talk show host, or whoever, met the person he's satirizing in person?

Who hasn't heard a joke about a particular group of people, or perhaps even told a joke about a group, based on some stereotype? How many jokes start with some line like "a priest, a minister and a rabbi...", or "How many Polacks does it take to (fill in the blank)", or, of course, "You might be a redneck if..."

I'm sure that some of the people in the groups mentioned above, or other groups (blondes, for example) are upset with such humor. Others probaby just laugh along, or even tell the jokes themselves.

My point is, if we start banning people who use such humor from doing so, or even attempt to totally ban the humor itself, what kind of humor will we have? Think about it. If we stop telling jokes about blondes, blacks, rednecks, white people, Presidents, Polish people, hick Iowans, men, women, politicians, lawyers, used car salesmen, and every other group of which some people find themselves a member, we won't have anything to laugh about.... and believe me, we all need to laugh as often as we can these days.

So, lighten up a little. Respect your fellow man and fellow woman, sure - but relax, and don't take it so personally.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner