Dave Barry's Column of 7/8/95

James W. Sandoz sandoz at umbc.edu
Tue Jul 11 14:02:31 EST 1995


In article <1995Jul11.173721.15818 at alw.nih.gov>,
Eric L. Cabot <elmo at helix.nih.gov> wrote:
>  Am I alone at being somewhat unhappy about Dave Barry's syndicated
>column last Sunday in which he lambasts a developmental
>study of Drosophila eye-formation and a biomechanical study of locomotion in
>cockroaches?

	Probably not.  There are lots of other humor-impaired folks 
out here.
>
>  My co-workers feel that I am  taking this humorist's piece rather
>personally and basically have no sense of humor. They contend that

	You're obviously working with some very intelligent people.  
Listen to them;  they know you better than we do.

>if scientists can't stand up for themselves then they deserve
>derision. I, in turn, feel that having a good laugh at the expense of 
>scientists may be funny, and Mr. Barry can certainly make almost
>anything seem funny, but in this particular instance he may be performing
>an outright disservice to society. Considering the risk that 

	Not nearly the disservice as he did when tempting millions of
readers to set their toasters on fire.  We've all read the startling
news accounts of the widespread housefire epidemics started by those
idiots who believe everything they read.

>a rather substantial subset of his readers may not realize that it's
>only  a joke, I somehow was not moved to laughter or even a smile.

	But you were moved to waste our time searching for a sympathetic
ear.  

>(I'm assuming here that this isn't a case of yet another journalist
>attacking what he doesn't understand).  
>
>  Would it be funny if the same "expose`" had been presented
>by Bill Clinton or Newt in pursuit of a political agenda rather
>than simply as comic fluffery?  Are there people out there who don't
>realize the difference? I'll bet that there are!

	Well, you've got me there.  I've heard both these men make 
remarks I could have sworn were written by Barry.  We all know that the
rest of the population (or your "subtantial subset, anyhow) haven't your
keen ability to discern the difference between proposing policy and 
writing a humor column.  So maybe we can get together and suggest that 
all of Barry's future columns first be approved by you.
	You sound like every censor i've ever met;  "I know better, but
nobody else does."
	If everything Barry (or Carlin, or Bruce, or even Cosby or 
Newhart) had to be unoffensive or "safe" to all of us, this would be a
sadder world indeed.  Your ox was gored this time (and rather gently).
I wonder if there have been any of Barry's columns that _you_ laughed
at which may have been seen as "risky" or offensive to someone else.
	I've wasted enough time and bandwidth criticizing you for doing
so.  Have a good day.
-- 
Mr. James W. Sandoz, UMBC Dept of Biol Sciences,  Catonsville, MD 21228-5398
voice: (410) 455-3497; fax 455-3875; net sandoz at umbc.edu




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