No jokes in the sun
It's Sunshine Week in America. Nothing to do with climate change, this is a week of activity organised by the American Society of Newspaper Editors in which the US media focus on issues of open government and freedom of information.
It's a tribute to the famous remarks of the US Supreme Court judge Louis Brandeis: 'Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.'
There's some interesting stuff - check out the links here - but funnily enough (or actually in this case not so funnily) the thing that strikes me most are the dreadful cartoons. A couple made me smile, but the 'jokes' are largely obvious, predictable, strident and heavy-handed, with many being more or less the same from one cartoon to the next. Secrecy about secrecy, the trade-off between security and openness, the stuff that eavesdroppers hear - all the most unimaginative gags are there repeatedly. Maybe it's called Sunshine Week as you can see all the jokes coming so easily.
So what's going on here?:
Is it that I'm too British to get the American sense of humour?
Can jokes not be delivered to order?
If you care about an issue, is it hard to be funny about it?
Are the cartoons better assessed as propaganda, not attempts at entertainment?
Is freedom of information the world's least amusing topic?
Sunlight may be a good disinfectant, but clearly I'm going to have to find my laughs in the shade.