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Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten was once invited by Britain's Guardian newspaper to engage in a battle of wits with one of its feature writers:

Oliver Burkeman: "British humour falls into two categories: the brilliantly subtle, ironic and self-deprecating kind for which this great nation is famed, and the kind that involves making fun of the Germans for being boring.

"I prefer the second kind because it is easier to know when to laugh: the point at which the joke-teller adopts a comic German accent... For the benefit of Americans, I'd like to point out that I'm being subtly ironic here."

Gene Weingarten: "American humour is much more concise and sophisticated. The name 'Oliver Burkeman' contains the components of 'barium' and 'enema.'"

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