Think before you joke, so you do not litigate funny

October 16, 2017 0 COMMENTS

Studies show that laughing boosts immunity, eases anxiety and stress, improves mood, decreases pain, and can even prevent heart disease. Socially, laughing strengthens relationships. In addition to the value of humor in our personal lives, we cannot underestimate the power of humor at work. Humor aides in learning and memory retention, increases our ability to persuade others and helps us diffuse conflict. Distilled to its most simplest terms: laughing feels good, and because of this, we enjoy being aroundand actually seek outpeople who make us laugh, not just in our personal lives, but also at work.  Businesspeople laughing in conference room

But, beware: Not all humor is appropriate in the workplace, both in content and in the context in which it is used. Humor can serve to alienate people and can constitute unlawful conduct. In Senator Franken’s new memoir, Giant of the Senate, Franken explained his initial deliberate decision to be “unfunny” following his lengthy career in comedy in order to be taken seriously during his Senate race and during his tenure in office. He discussed his frustration when old jokes from his comedy career resurfaced by his political opponents during his first Senate race, which were taken wholly out of context during his campaign. When he tried to explain the context of one of his jokes to reporters and how it was funny, the humor did not translate and became publically embarrassing for him.  It was then that he learned a valuable lesson about politicsYou can’t litigate a joke.” Because, as he reasoned, “when you’re explaining, you are losing.

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North Korea has banned sarcasm. Whatever.

September 15, 2016 2 COMMENTS

In case you haven’t seen the news, no, the title is not a joke. The last word, however, is probably illegal now in North Korea (not that I worry much that this post is making it through the Hermit Kingdom’s web filters). Young Businessman Looking At Empty Space Above Him, isolated

First, a little background. North Korea’s government, as we all know, displays two consistent tendencies: (1) it likes Dennis Rodman and (2) it doesn’t cotton to criticism, and its leaders aren’t shy about responding in ways that would make Draco blush. The North Korean people, on the other hand, still seem to show at least some vestige of the human urge to be smart alecks. North Korea’s government and state media (but I repeat myself) has a much-mocked habit of blaming the country’s legion of woes on outsiders, particularly the United States.

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