- The Washington Times - Monday, November 15, 2010

Serious humor

“[‘Four Lions’ is] a story about what you might call a semi-competent cell of homegrown jihadis. They set off on a mission, they do the normal things. They sit around talking. They plan to go to training camp. They come back. They sort of try and form a plan and they feel the net’s closing around them. …

“I got [the idea] from reading serious books. But they kept throwing up examples of things, which struck me as pretty silly. The first one was a bunch of Yemeni jihadis who wanted to blow up an American warship with an exploding boat. And they got as far as assembling their plan and their explosives. They put their launch in the water under cover of darkness and they filled it full of explosives and it sank.

“I didn’t really pay it any mind, but I started to feel that there was a kind of pattern here of guys who were behaving in a pretty flawed way, whether or not they were actually succeeding in carrying out these plots, you know. At the very bottom end, there was some Canadian jihadis who wanted to assassinate the Canadian prime minister and forgot who he was. And the silly examples kept serving themselves up.”

- Director Chris Morris, interviewed for the Nov. 12 edition of the National Public Radio show “Tell Me More,” on “A Comedy About Terrorists?”

Juvenile humor

“If youre in a bookstore this weekend and hear alleged adults giggling like a Code Pink party when the cake finally arrives, its just these clowns re-arranging the shelves:

“‘The special relationship is being turned on its head, with U.S. peace activists following the lead of their British counterparts to launch a campaign to reshelve George Bushs new memoir, Decision Points, “where it belongs”: in the crime section of their local bookshops. … The protest blog Waging Nonviolence is urging its supporters to … post pictures of the autobiography in its new location on a campaign Facebook page.’

“Theres actually the occasional funny comment on their Facebook page about how this has prompted some people to give the book a read. The bookstore-bound BDS left might as well put Bill Clintons book in the ‘traitor’ section while theyre in the store, because Clinton said Bushs book was ‘well written and interesting.’ “

- Doug Powers, writing on “Left Greeting Bookstore Release of Bushs ‘Decision Points With Level of Maturity You Might Expect,” on Nov. 12 at MichelleMalkin.com

‘Award-winning’ humor

“One of the more preposterous institutions in Washington - in a city with an abundance of them - is the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, awarded since 1998 by the same people who invented the Kennedy Center Honors.

“I have no idea who or what committee of the board at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts chooses the lucky recipient of an award named for the famous 19th-century novelist/essayist, but I have a reasonable guess what Mark Twain would think of the idea. The notion of a prize for ‘humor’ in the gift of an agency of the federal government, and presented with all the cultural appurtenances of a major network television broadcast, would very much be grist for Twains mill. …

“The first winner of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor was Richard Pryor (1998), and it has gone to other humorists of importance to our culture such as Lily Tomlin (2003), Billy Crystal (2007), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), and George Carlin (2008). In fact, in the dozen years of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, it has gone to exactly one writer (Neil Simon, 2006) - which, once again, would raise a rueful smile in Mark Twain.”

- Philip Terzian, writing on “Puddnhead Kaminsky: Why Mark Twain would love the Mark Twain prize,” on Nov. 11 at the Weekly Standard blog

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