Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mr. Humor-challenged is history

Posted By on Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 11:17 AM

Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP President Ken White finally resigned yesterday, a month after national NAACP officials fired him. What better time to hear about the canning of one of the most humorless people on earth than April Fools' Day? The national NAACP essentially supported a local insurrection against Ken White's less-than-energetic approach to supporting civil rights. I don't know if White deserved to be fired for being a slug, but I do know he doesn't have even one half of an iota of a sense of humor, which, in my opinion, should make anyone ineligible for positions of responsibility, lest they turn out to be as clueless as Mr. White.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a political humor column called "Poll Results Censored," based on the premise that someone had suppressed poll results from a local government Web site. It was a way to poke fun at local "leaders" and to satirize their self-importance. Anyone who wasn't humor-challenged might be expected to understand that the whole thing was a spoof, especially considering that 1. the column began, "An extensive investigation and five margaritas have revealed . . .," 2. the questions were along the lines of "If you could smack the shit out of any local government official, who would it be?" - or 3. a disclaimer at the end of the column noted, "This is satire. There was no poll."

White, though, didn't get it. In fact, he took particular offense at one "poll question" which asked, "Which County Commissioner is most likely to have smoked pot?" and tagged Valerie Woodard, who is African-American, as the most frequent "answer." White accused me of sending a "stereotypical and racist" message, saying that, "To associate pot smoking with Mrs. Woodard is highly offensive" and, to top it off, "We demand your public apology to Mrs. Woodard."

Genuinely puzzled by his reaction (as well as by Woodard's, in a separate e-mail), I tried to get across to White the concept of absurdist political humor, and noted that the column was "an equal opportunity offender," but it was hopeless. When it became obvious that no apology was forthcoming, White gave up. I'm often struck dumb by some people's humorlessness, such as the person who wrote last week about a column in which I named George W. Bush as a possible, "assassination-proof" VP pick for Barack Obama. Never mind that other VP picks included the Dalai Lama and Chaka Khan, this guy didn't see the humor, and painstakingly explained that Bush wouldn't be eligible, etc., etc., and that I should check my facts first, blah blah blah.

OK, I'm rambling now, so here's a summary: If you're smart, you won't elect anyone who is as completely lacking a sense of humor as is Ken White to lead anything.

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