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Saturday, November 10, 2007

HEAD SLAPPING REDUX

Another post on torture today because it's such a rich vein for comedy. Kind of.

I'm a little ashamed to admit that the first time I heard about the latest round of US "enhanced interrogation" techniques, I started laughing out loud. This isn't because I think torture is especially funny, but because I watch British comedy.

About one year ago, BBC America broadcast a show called "Knowing Me, Knowing You." I was a fake talk show featuring an incompetent ABBA obsessed host. It's a very funny show and the host, Alan Partridge (played by Steve Coogan), became a nationally recognized comic character.

On one episode, Alan hosts a political debate between three candidates from the major parties and one member of a gonzo party whose members all wear bald caps and promote head slapping as a remedy for everything. It is perhaps my favorite sketch in the entire series.

The only downside was that I now find the words "head slapping" instantly funny, even out of context. So when I was listening to NPR and heard the reporter say that the US was using interrogation techniques "including waterboarding, stress positions, extreme temperatures, and head slapping," well I just started laughing. I was appalled by the story, but I just couldn't stop laughing at the "head slapping" part.

So now I present to you the head slapping sketch in its entirety. It's about 10 minutes long, and that may be more time than you've got, but if you fast forward to 5:30, you'll get to the good stuff.

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