Tom Purcell, 12/13/2010 [Archive]

Wikileaks Bad News For Humorists

WikiLeaks Bad News for Humorists

By Tom Purcell

Julian Assange, the lead WikiLeaks perpetrator, has ruined my career.

I write light, humorous pieces for a living -- offbeat perspectives that offer a respite from everyday woes.

Humor, says Webster's, is "that quality which appeals to a sense of the ludicrous or absurdly incongruous." It is "designed to be comical or amusing."

There is no harder writing than humor writing.

The humor writer toils for hours to achieve the perfect turn of phrase, the precise exaggeration, the unexpected twist.

He starts by describing something relatable, such as the story of a pig on a farm -- a pig with a wooden leg.

He coaxes the tale along. He explains that this is no ordinary pig -- it saved its owner's family from a fire that consumed their house by kicking down its front door.

When the reader expects the tale to conclude one way, the humor writer goes in an entirely different direction. This is called the punch line.

"Why does the pig have a wooden leg?" he says. "Because when your family is blessed with a pig as good as ours, you don't want to eat him all at once."

Get it? OK, the pig gag is an old one, but it does the job.

Which brings us to the WikiLeaks guy.

Assange, a computer nerd from Australia, fancies himself a journalist. He specializes in distributing "leaked" confidential information.

Another nerd, a U.S. Army private, allegedly gave him thousands of files of classified documents. Supposedly, the private was able to load the documents onto a tiny hard drive -- which probably cost $2.

Well, last spring, Assange began distributing some of those classified U.S. documents -- the first batch included confidential information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The U.S. government did nothing to Assange.

So his organization began leaking embarrassing State Department cables that shed light on the nasty business of U.S. "diplomacy."

The leaks were so damaging, some argued, that they put the lives of some of our 'friends' in grave danger and will make it lots harder to conduct business around the world.

Despite the damage, the U.S. government did nothing.

You'd think the world's most successful country might have some nasty CIA types kidnap Assange's dog or threaten to remove his fingernails, but it would appear no such things happened.

If only our secret agents were as tough as the hardened Swedish feminists, whose tough consent laws sent Assange to the pokey.

You see, Assange, says the U.K. Daily Mail, was using his fame to get chicks.

He allegedly made the mistake of consorting with two Swedish ladies, both hardened feminists and admirers of his.

At least they were admirers until they found out he was consorting with both of them at the same time -- and without proper 'protection.'

In Sweden, thanks to powerful feminists, there are stringent laws, apparently, about broken prophylactics (as allegedly happened with woman No. 1) and not using prophylactics at all (as allegedly happened with woman No. 2).

Whatever transpired, the Swedes issued a warrant for his arrest.

While he was in London, Assange turned himself in to police. He is fighting extradition to Sweden. The Brits, apparently fearful that a condom-less madman might walk their streets, are refusing him bail.

Meanwhile, rogue hackers, operating from their mothers' basements, are attacking anyone -- including the U.S. government -- who stands in WikiLeaks' way.

Classified documents continue to be released.

The most powerful nation in history has been unable to thwart our newest cyber threat as a handful of hackers makes us look small, weak and incompetent.

And so it is that our front-page headlines have gotten so ludicrous and absurdly incongruous, there's no need for humor writers anymore.

Julian Assange has ruined my career.

© 2010 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, a freelance writer is also a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For more info contact Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email E-mail Tom at

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