mockery

#mockery

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. Credit: John Hoppner (Public domain)
. Credit: John Hoppner (Public domain)
William Pitt was once visited in London by several volunteers offering their services as militiamen. Though they agreed to organize and equip themselves, their offer had so many qualifications that it was of little use. As Pitt studied their proposal, he came to a clause stipulating that they never be required to leave the kingdom—whereupon he took up his pen and added in the margin: "except in the case of actual invasion." [Pitt was just 24 when he became Prime minister of Great Britain.]
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900 North Point
Tammy Faye Messner. Credit: Darwin Bell (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0">CC BY 2.0</a>)
Tammy Faye Messner. Credit: Darwin Bell (CC BY 2.0)
From People magazine (July 1987): Poor Tammy Faye Bakker. Even the deposed televangelist's favorite sport—shopping—has become perilous. In San Francisco... Tammy walked into Nuance, a pricey knitwear shop in tony Ghirardelli Square, and caused a panic among the sales staff. It seems that the store had been making a killing with $15 "I Ran Into Tammy Faye at the Mall" T-shirts, which look like a heavily made-up Tammy had run smack into them, and Tammy Faye nearly ran smack into the predominantly displayed shirt in the store. As Bakker browsed, apparently unknowingly, one saleswoman turned the T-shirt around, and another successfully led her in a different direction. Wrapping Tammy's purchase (a $63 oversize T-shirt), assistant manager Rosario Lee had a ...
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Franz von Lenbach's portrait of Bismarck in his 75th year
Franz von Lenbach's portrait of Bismarck in his 75th year
Otto von Bismarck, enraged by Rudolf Virchow's constant criticism, one day ordered his seconds to arrange a duel. Virchow, known as "the father of modern pathology," consented, with a small stipulation: "As the challenged party, I have the choice of weapons," he explained, "and I choose these two large sausages... One," he continued, "is infected with deadly germs. The other is perfectly sound. Let His Excellency decide which he wishes to eat, and I shall eat the other." The chancellor, informed of the Virchow's response, called the duel off with a burst of laughter. [Fun fact: Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.]
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The Vatican
Novello performing as Father Guido Sarducci in 2000. Photo from Wikipedia user John Mathew Smith, celebrity-photos.com (<a href=https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)
Novello performing as Father Guido Sarducci in 2000. Photo from Wikipedia user John Mathew Smith, celebrity-photos.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)
While researching his role as "Father Guido Sarducci" on Saturday Night Live one year, Don Novello visited the Vatican in full costume. Officials were not entirely pleased with his visit. After taking several photographs in an area where photography was prohibited, Novello was promptly arrested by the Swiss Guards for "impersonating a priest." Though the charges were later dropped, the incident made news around the world. Novello made light the whole affair, suggesting that he might visit Utah (the land of the Mormons) and see if he could get himself arrested for impersonating a member of the Osmond family.
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In 2001, Martin Creed was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize for excellence in the visual arts for a work—entitled 'The lights going on and off'—consisting simply of a room in which the lights intermittently turned off, and then on again.  Many protesters, unhappy about the amount of public money being spent on the exhibition, picketed outside with flashlights, which they intermittently turned off, and then on again...  [Among the finalists for the prize in 2002? A gallery ceiling composed of multi-colored Perspex panels, beneath which many visitors walked, wondering where the art was.]
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. Credit: Unknown author or not provided (Public domain)
. Credit: Unknown author or not provided (Public domain)
New York Tribune founder Horace Greeley, who insisted that the word "news" was plural, once sent a telegram to a Tribune staffer. "ARE THERE ANY NEWS?" he asked. Replied the staffer: "NOT A NEW."
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Publicity portrait photo of Groucho Marx. Credit: ABC Photo (Public domain)
Publicity portrait photo of Groucho Marx. Credit: ABC Photo (Public domain)
As he entered the dining room of a posh Los Angeles hotel one evening, Groucho Marx was stopped by the maitre d'. "I am sorry, sir," the man explained, "but you have no necktie."  "Don't be sorry," Groucho replied. "I remember the time when I had no pants!"  "I am sorry, sir," the host repeated, "you cannot enter the dining room without a necktie." "Look! Look at him!" Groucho cried, suddenly pointing at a bald man in the distance. "You won't let me in without a necktie, but you let him in without his hair!" 
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Publicity portrait photo of Groucho Marx. Credit: ABC Photo (Public domain)
Publicity portrait photo of Groucho Marx. Credit: ABC Photo (Public domain)
In his capacity as a comedian on You Bet Your Life, Groucho Marx interviewed many of the show's participants. He once interviewed a certain Mrs Story, who claimed to have given birth to twenty-two children. "I love my husband," she said by way of explanation. "I like my cigar, too," Groucho replied, "but I take it out once in a while."  [Like many of Groucho's comments, this had to be cut from the program; one and a half hours of live recording typically yielded less than half an hour of material suitable for broadcast. Betty Friedan's opinion of Groucho? "He's a male chauvinistic piglet."]
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In 2012, after a jury in San Jose concluded that Samsung should pay Apple over $1 billion in damages for infringing its software and design patents, stills from a recent episode of The Office, in which John Krasinski's character demonstrates an absurd triangular tablet computer, began circulating on the internet, poking fun at the jury's ruling that Samsung had copied the shape of Apple's wildly popular iPhone—a rectangle with curved corners.