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WHY REPUBLICANS HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOR

John Chuckman

It may have something to do with a life spent scowling, years of squeezing facial muscles and lips so tightly the skin comes to resemble cracked swollen grapes. It may relate to the hemorrhoid-inducing strains of bad potty training, although research is unclear as to whether this is a cause or an effect. “Not sparing the rod” may play a role – you can’t look into the hard-boiled-egg face of Second-Lady, Lynne Cheney, without thinking about Sam Spade slapping around uncooperative witnesses. But I wouldn’t insist on the point. Her face may just reflect explosively-high blood pressure. Or an abnormally large spleen.

There may be a genetic basis for many of the large divisions of human nature – not for all the details and refinements, but for the basic dichotomies, such as optimism and pessimism, open to new ideas or close-minded, generous or greedy, smiling or sour, peaceful or violent. I certainly don’t know this to be the case, but it seems a plausible hypothesis.

So I do think it possible there is a genetic basis for Republicanism. It is difficult otherwise to explain why the same mix of traits turns up over and over – greedy, narrow, sour, and lacking in humor, always excepting for the kind of sophomoric stuff mumbled and stumbled over by a pretzel-challenged President.

Whatever the cause, it is an easily confirmed observation that Republicans have no sense of humor. I’m sure there are readers – especially the ones that send me notes advising that J.K. Rowling is a pseudonym of Beelzebub – now thinking, “Then how do you explain Rush Limbaugh?”

Well, this just proves my point. If that is your idea of a sense of humor, you have none. The words of “Naziism with a Friendly Face,” as Rush is warmly known to closeted Hitler-Jugend and aspiring pimply-faced predator-entrepreneurs across the United States, provide a sure test for lack of humor. If he makes you laugh, you have a problem. Or, rather, the country has a problem if there are enough of you.

If Republicans had a sense of humor, they’d laugh their own leadership off the platform. The party’s Washington mob could be the cast of extras from one of those old Hammer Studio horror films with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Scary, ugly and dopey – all at the same time.

Strom “The Living Corpse” Thurmond: It is reliably reported that a Senate page is assigned, full time, to yank sash cords from a secret room in the Senate basement that run up Strom’s pants, attach to his jaw, and make his mouth move. Strom is no dummy though, having been granted several honorary degrees from Bob Jones University

Tom “The Roach Exterminator” DeLay: Here is a man who almost certainly ingested too much rat and roach powder while working as a pest exterminator in Texas, the kind of entrepreneurial experience deemed, in that neck of the woods, as fully qualifying you for a career in national politics. Tom fancies himself a Constitutional scholar though, always carrying a folded-up copy of the sacred text in his back pocket and showing some adeptness at its interpretation. The only trouble is it’s the Constitution of the Confederate States of America.

Trent “Prancey Boy” Lott (a.k.a. “Big Hair”): This former star agricultural-college cheerleader still performs at private benefits on behalf of the George Wallace Memorial Chapter for the Preservation of our Glorious Confederate Heritage. If you want to catch him going through his moves, book early – they’re always sell-out crowds.

Dennis “The Crusher” Hastert: Nick-named in recognition of his tireless efforts on behalf of election-finance reform as well as his remarkable resemblance to one of those WWF plastic dolls, a man said by some to suffer from extended exposure to crop dusting in southern Illinois.

And that barely scratches the surface for miserable, threadbare material in the Republican Party.

We have Jesse “Don’t Tread on Me” Helms: He represents the one known species of viper that weird Carolina fundamentalists avoid using in their snake-handling acts.

Newt “Hydrophobia” Gingrich: Almost resembling a very large Kewpie doll in a business suit, Newt seems quite innocuous until he displays his piranha-like smile and suddenly strikes with rows of glittering razor-teeth. The Beanie Baby version of Newt has been declared hazardous for children.

Phil “As my ol’ Mama said, ‘Some gotta clim’ down outta the wagon…’ ” Gramm. This guy’s failure to put together a wad of dough as big as the one that made Bush president, spared generations of school kids from memorizing mind-numbing quotes off the sides of a giant marble wagon in Washington.

Bob “The U.S. government’s running a damned concentration camp down there in Washington, an’ they got Elian locked up in it!” Smith. Smith does have a certain gentility, earning him the epithet, “New England’s Own Big Bubba.” Big Bubba’s career heroic moment was quitting the party, not for anything so unrewarding as principle, but so he could be lured back with a committee position. His feat of crawling back to Washington over the rocky New England landscape is the stuff of Republican legend.

Bob “I want Ron and Nancy stuffed and put in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian!” Barr. The acerbic Barr has a tender side, he has been known to weep openly at the sight of a bowl of jelly beans. Former associates at the CIA still affectionately refer to him as the Agency’s Nincompoop Quota.

Henry “The Two-Ton Hypocrite” Hyde. Well, at least Bush’s “youthful indiscretions” stopped, instead of starting, at forty. Hyde, a consummate ham actor, gave his most memorable performance in the role of noble, white-maned statesman heroically struggling against the forces of reason, good sense, and good taste to cast down an elected President over a dribble on a dress. In his own mind, he was repeating the magic of Charles Laughton in Advise and Consent.

And, we have a new star in the Republican firmament since September 11, John “Speaks in Tongues” Ashcroft. Here is today’s indispensable man. In the course of years rolling around on the dirt floors of revival tents in Missouri, blubbering incomprehensibly, he gained immense insight into fundamentalist financial networks that he now applies to the damned heathen fundamentalists who believe the wrong fundamentals.

Of course, with a party that doesn’t think there should be a government – just a contracted-out private army with an unlimited budget for weapons from Fortune 500 companies plus a secret-police network whose computers hook-up to every home (this last is a self-funded scheme from the sale to corporations of the greatest stash of intimate, personal marketing data ever assembled) – such ballot choices are not terribly surprising. But still, even this partial roll call provides powerful evidence of a complete lack of humor.

Just as I was about to complete this important piece of investigative journalism, the following item came in on the wire from a large Eastern research facility. I believe it requires no additional comment.

IMPORTANT NEW FINDING!

Important new research has made a startling discovery. Autopsies on the brains of hundreds of cadavers have revealed that  the vestigial bit of reptilian brain long known to exist in all humans is three times larger than normal in Republicans.

Preliminary follow-up work with MRIs on living Republicans not only confirms the finding but indicates a dominate role in many of their brain functions.

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