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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Tuesday, October 8 2002 

Tongue in cheek

We discussed teasing a couple of weeks ago. Things said tongue in cheek or "for effect" have certain overlaps with teasing. Neither are intended to be taken entirely seriously. Teasing, often, is not intended to be taken seriously, and its point can be entirely missed if and when it is taken seriously. "Can't take a joke" and "are you so dense you don't 'get it?'" are reactions heard when a tease is missed or over-reacted to.

Things said "tongue in cheek" vary according to circumstances. A spouse making a cutting remark about the other member of the team in a group setting is generally understood as working at some personal resentments, "getting at" something deeper. Comics make tongue-in-cheek remarks, almost always unfair to their subjects, about public figures to get a laugh, regardless of whether the statement is true. When a national comic like Jay Leno adds, "I'm joking" after such a statement it is probably one that is so untrue that it could be "actionable" in libel court if it weren't "just" a joke. Public figures like politicians and entertainers have virtually no grounds for libel, because their whole lives are offered on the chopping block of community scrutiny. So President Bush is a buffoon who has to rely on Dick Cheney for any serious decision, and Democratic standard-bearer Al Gore is a fat bore whose speeches are sleep-inducing and tend to exaggeration in Leno's jokewriting manual.

Semi-public figures like clergy members whose careers can be undercut by statements casting shadows on their morality or integrity are more likely to take offense and take them to the courts. This is doubly true for cult groups and "causes," some of which reportedly retain attornies just looking for actionable statements made against them in public media or forums.

However, historic developments like the recent scandals in the Catholic church and public school teachers having sex with their students have as an effect the undercutting of the standing of their whole profession.

There are other uses of tongue-in-cheek communications and things said "for effect" that we'll examine later.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

T-shirt sayings (last of a series)

51. Mop and Glow - floor wax used by Three Mile Island cleanup team.
52. NyQuil - The stuffy, sneezy, why-the-heck-is-the-room spinning medicine.
53. Quoting one is plagiarism; Quoting many is research.
54. My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God and I didn't.

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for today

An old man said: Just as no one can cause harm to someone who is close to the emperor, no more can Satan do anything to us if our souls are close to God, for truly he said, "Draw near to me, and I shall draw near to you." But since we often exalt ourselves, the enemy has no difficulty in drawing our poor souls into shameful passions.

—Sent by Christopher Haas

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