War on humor

This is it. We’ve had enough. We hear the news reports. (OK, mostly we hear people talking about what they saw on TV.) We see the tragedy caused by misunderstandings. It’s obvious, and it’s a problem: People can no longer tell where the humor stops and the news begins.

Don’t you agree that all this has gone far enough? The Catholic Pope refuses to rescind a ban on condom use in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is the region in the world hardest hit by AIDS and HIV. Newspapers are shutting down in the face of ever-growing readership. Jon Stewart takes on Jim Cramer. The Iraq War celebrated its sixth anniversary. AIG takes millions in taxpayer money and then pays millions in bonuses to the very employees who jeopardized the company. Charles McNeely takes a job in California, and Reno citizens appear sad. The United States accuse Mexico of having a drug problem.

Here’s the bottom line: This comedy isn’t funny anymore. Some of us are worried about our children. It’s time to stop kidding around.

So we here at the World Headquarters of the Reno News & Review would like to offer a modest proposal: We declare a war on humor.

We know this will be a difficult campaign, but it’s the only solution. We have a six-way strategy for a war that must be fought on many fronts.

1) Meet guffaws with glowers: When approached by a compatriot, co-worker, family member or even a stranger who attempts to start a conversation with, “Did you hear that …” be prepared to wipe that smile off your face, furrow your brow, and dismissively reply, “That [insert news excerpt here] is nonsense. Wouldn’t your time be better spent ministering to [insert depressing volunteer opportunity here]?”

2) Install laughter dampening technology: This is simple but crucial. Record the sound that immediately follows inside a house where a foreclosed-upon family has just moved out. Play it as background noise at just-below-hearing-threshold levels in schools and businesses and on television and radio news broadcasts.

3) Meet glee with gloom: When unobjective optimists eventually and invariably point to the day’s news of the economy activity as being positive, remind them that last week, last month and last year all had momentary flashes of positivity, but a glance at the trends over time show that there’s nothing in life that’s worth cracking up about.

4) No matter how sick you get, don’t laugh.

5) Punish signs of jocularity: In fact, when in the presence of drollness, humor, farcicality, humorousness, ludicrousness, ridiculousness, wit, zaniness, gaiety, blitheness, glee, gleefulness, hilarity, jocosity, jocundity, jolliness (or its weaker cousin, jollity), joviality, lightheartedness, merriment, funniness, merriness, mirth, mirthfulness, or comedy, loudly berate the person who seems most directly responsible for the breach in sobriety. Remember: Gay no longer means merry.

6) Get a life: This is serious business. Work harder.