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In next month's issue of the scientific jounal Nature, researchers at Cornell University report the discovery of the genetic underpinnings of humor in humans.

Dr. Joel Briggs, professor of genetic biology at Cornell and lead researcher on this study, stated, "Unraveling the genetic markers for humor will help us understand many things about the human personality. -- why certain individuals can use laughter to bolster their immune systems, or why others are unable to see humor in stressful situations, or why certain children are unable to pick up on social cues related to humor." Dr. Briggs also reported a related finding: The genetic markers for humor were found to be defective in 88.2 percent of liberals in the United States.

This finding immediately polarized the American scientific community, with the more conservative scholars releasing a statement lauding the work. A formal response from the liberal contingent has been delayed pending a committee's report on the resolution of the dilemma of expressing outrage without further proving the point of the study.

Outside the United States, international researchers appeared to be unilaterally supportive of Dr. Briggs' research.

University of Berlin sociologist Dr. Hans Metzger sought to make the seemingly confusing finding about American liberals more understandable to a lay audience: "Take for example the people who voted for George W. Bush... twice. Now those people really had to have a sense of humor, an increased capacity to suspend reality and entertain the absurd."

Cheech Marin, assumed to be in the 11.8 percent liberal minority, offered this interpretation: "Intelligent design in the science curriculum? Man, now THAT'S some funny shit."

However, most liberals immediately sought to counter the results of the study.

MoveOn.org rallied and collected hundreds of thousands of email petitioners denouncing the study as "unscientific, mean-spirited, and not funny."

The research also inflamed members of the dailyKos online community who showed their immense outrage by posting a deluge of comments to the dailyKos website, many of which read, "We're better than that!"; "It's Bush that isn't funny!"; "Wonder what spin Fox News will put on THIS?" and "This study is so inappropriate!"

Los Angeles standup comic Tina Dupuy offered the following as an example of the dilemma faced by humorists.

    Falafel Sex: How many liberals does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Liberal: That's not funny!

    Falafel Sex: (awkward silence)

    Liberal: We should empathize with what it's like to BE a lightbulb and make a documentary about it.

Falafel Sex, and Other Things Best Left Unsaid

Originally posted to abbytaylor on Mon Nov 14, 2005 at 08:33 PM PST.

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