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Ask Aunt Sophie By: Judith Weizner
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, November 09, 2006

Here we go again. Just before the election, those lying Republicans tried to make me unappetizing to the American voter again. And I'm not even running.
The other day, I was talking to a group of college students about the importance of education. I happen to think it's very important and everyone else should think so, too. People should really try to think more like me. Anyway, I told the youngsters if they studied hard, did their homework and made an effort to be smart they could do well, and if they didn't, they'd get stuck in Iraq. It was a joke. You know - do your homework or die. I thought it was very funny. Besides, I was told young people respond to humor.

But of course the radio fascists have deliberately misinterpreted what I said and they're acting as if I insulted the troops. I'm a war hero, for heaven's sake. How could I insult the troops?

Actually, I think the president is insulting the troops by keeping them in Iraq. He's insulting their intelligence by implying that this quagmire is necessary for the security of the United States. That's the real insult, but naturally, the heroes of the airwaves can't deal with that. No. They have to find fault with me for making a joke.

You wouldn't believe how much pressure was put on me to apologize. At first I said I wouldn't. You should never apologize unless you've done something wrong. But the more I thought about it, the more I figured this would never go away if I didn't. Ultimately, even though it was hard, I gave in. I must have lost ten pounds mulling over the problem. Making decisions is just incredibly difficult. That's why I'm always in favor of multilateralism - you never have to go out on a limb, and you can always share the blame. Apologies are so unpleasant - they stick in the throat and then it's hard to swallow, and you can't eat. I'm already quite thin, so you see it can quickly become a problem for me. That's why I just had them put it up on my website.

Have we really become such a humorless nation that a senator can't tell a joke to a bunch of college students?


Dear II,

Rather than trying to scare the kids into hitting the books maybe you should have used yourself as an example of the value of education. You could have pointed out that rich widows are seldom attracted to cadaverous men lacking the je ne sais quoi that attaches to a sheepskin from a prestigious institution. Then you might have hinted, wink, wink, that without a couple of rich widows you might still be a ski bum.

In the future, if you want to use humor to get your points across, you should probably work on your timing. To get the maximum effect from a punch line you need to be sure everyone is on the same page. Your joke needed a build-up, something like, "Study hard, do your homework, make an effort to be smart or else you'll have nowhere to go but the army and we all know that's for losers who don't mind torturing prisoners, killing women and babies in the middle of the night; and obeying a commander-in-chief who lies about WMD's, pretends it isn't about oil, and thinks he can win a war without any help from the United Nations. (Pause.) In other words, study hard or you'll be stuck in Iraq." 

Or, taking a different approach, you could have listed the top ten reasons why students should do their homework:

10) The government isn't in charge of the medical schools yet, so you still need a degree to get in.
9) You'd die before you'd shop at Wal Mart.
8) There will be many more Supreme Court vacancies in the future. One of them could be yours.
7) When you run for office it will be all over talk radio if you don't have a degree.
6) Your coordination isn't up to hamburger flipping.
5) Without a triple doctorate you can't understand the relationship between flossing and global warming.
4) Someone should find the cure for cancer even if there won't be any pharmaceutical companies around to manufacture it.
3) If no one in government can speak French, how will we be able to capitulate?
2) You'd be ashamed not to be able to pass the exam for sanitation worker.
1) You've always wanted a Hummer, not a Humvee. (You'll be stuck in Iraq.)

These are just a couple of suggestions. Practice hard so the next time you tell a joke everyone will recognize it for what it is. As for the apology, congratulations. It was obvious you were only kidding.

Good luck and God bless.

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Judith Weizner is a columnist for Frontpagemag.com.

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