Friday, 2 April 2010

Not a Joke

I left off posting this until April 2nd. And no, US Representative Hank Johnson isn't joking. Here's the opponent he beat in the Primary, by the way, Cynthia McKinney.

NBC News conducted a survey in March 2005. They asked about the origin of human life , was the origin evolutionary or according to "the biblical account of creation."

Results were:
Humans came to be via evolution: 33%
God created the world in 6 days: 44%
God was present in the process: 13%
Don't know: 10%

UPDATE - I see Lloyd in the comments has beaten me to it, but here's an alternate explanation, from Neo-NeoCon :
First of all, although this is a little-known fact, he and Admiral Willard, the man he is questioning in the video, are old friends. They met in 1986 on the set of the film “Top Gun.” Willard was a consultant and actor in the film (you can look it up), but the telegenic Johnson also played a bit role in the film as one of the other pilots.

Willard and Johnson struck up an acquaintance on the set, finding that they shared a remarkable gift for deadpan humor. They developed a number of routines that had the other “Top Gun” actors and extras in stitches, and were both known for keeping a straight face throughout the silliest exchanges, a skill that served them remarkably well during their recent encounter in Congress.

One of their old routines involved a bit about landing an airplane on the island of Guam. The joke was about how small and narrow the island was, so thin it couldn’t even hold a runway, and so any landing might cause the whole island to tip over. It may not sound so funny in print. But it was Johnson and Willard’s delivery that made it so special.

The exchange you see in the video has been much criticized. But it has actually been widely misunderstood. That portion of the question-and-answer merely represents an updating of their old routine, with both Johnson and Willard playing their familiar roles. Note how deftly Johnson sets Willard up with classic comic timing, drawing it all out with lengthy emphasis on just how tiny the island is. Then, after Johnson expresses his concern that Guam just might tip over and capsize (this time because of added people, rather than an airplane), Willard responds with perfect composure and the straightest of faces, “We don’t anticipate that.”
Cynthia McKinney on the other hand.... just look at her body language and expression in this clip:

UPDATE II : It turns out that NeoNeoCon was making an April 1 Joke, rather than injecting a breath of bipartisan sanity into US politics.


Chip Uni said...

Rep. Johnson has made a statement about his question:

"The subtle humor of this obviously metaphorical reference to a ship capsizing illustrated my concern about the impact of the planned military buildup on this small tropical island."

Don't give up your day job, Rep. Johnson...

-- Chip Uni

Lloyd Flack said...

It was a commedy routine between two old friends.

That people are not recognizing it as hyperbole or humour says something about the polarization of US politics.

Lloyd Flack said...

Double had! Neo-neocon's explanation of what happened was an April Fool's Day joke.

The representative explained what he said as metaphor. Whichever way he certainly wasn't speaking literally.

Stopthepresses2 said...

During questioning of a US admiral about plans to station 5,000 more Marines on the island, Congressman Johnson said he's worried that "Guam might capsize." Congressman Hank Johnson went on to say "Admiral I also want you to look into the possibility of Denver Colorado tipping over, it's the mile high city you know, if it falls over a lot of innocent people could get kilt."