In the New Yorker, "Judging Humor" describes the complexities of litigating humor:
In adjudicating disputes about humor, courts often must decide
whether a particular communication is, indeed, funny. The cases are
diverse, based on theories ranging from contract, trademark
infringement, and sexual harassment to defamation.
A remarkable trend appears in these cases: they tend to track wisdom
about humor developed by decades, even centuries, of humor scholars.
Humor scholars have toiled to find the essence of humor, the quality
that transforms a communication into something that inspires laughter.
Most scholars agree that incongruity is a necessary (though not
sufficient) part of all comedy. The unlikely juxtaposition of two parts
of life, it turns out, gives the spark that creates a joke. Of course,
the conditions must be right for the spark to work: timing, context, and
There is no way to prevent entirely the mangling of proper names in case names, but it is time to do something to improve the chances of getting them right. That is the purpose of this Pronouncing Dictionary.
Now, you have no excuse for anything less than perfection in your Supreme Court oral argument.
Some of you may be wondering why we haven't had a "The Onion for Lawyers" post in a while. What with The Onion's propensity for using the f-word in most headlines and an apparent disinterest in legal issues, pickings have been slim. To tide you over, here are a few non-legal but PG-rated items from the latest edition: