Matt Bors
Comics, Politics & Ridicule

Bors Blog

A few months ago I did this cartoon, making fun of the laughter training the Pentagon is doing with military families. Steve Wilson, who appears in the comic, wrote me to clear up what he saw as an unfair representation of his organization. He is Founder and "Cheerman of the Bored" of the World Laughter Tour and The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH), both non-profits. The original USA Today story can be found here.

There is a better --more accurate-- point of view that you might consider, and I would love to talk to you about it.

There is value in maintaining a sense of humor. Your livelihood depends on it, so I cannot imagine you would want a reputation for hating laughter. Humor and laughter can make the un-bearable a bit more bearable; and, they are hallmarks of successful coping and recovery. Humor can also be used to hurt, and it can distort facts. I wonder, is there any way you could use your talent and wit to set the record straight?

I have been serious about laughter and humor for a long, long time, having some remarkable successes in applying humor for its beneficial purposes in many unique settings. I have been working with Col. Scott (now retired but still at the Pentagon with Family Support programs) for about 3 years to bring 'therapeutic laughter' to the mix of coping skills for military families. The USA Today article didn't do him justice. He is a person with a big heart and an officer with a tough job that he works at sincerely.

Unfortunately, lacking balance in some key respects, the USA Today piece was incomplete and inaccurate, but an un-distorted story may not have made front-page news. When you added your take to an already warped report the problem for us was compounded.

Steve Wilson, Founder, President and Cheerman of The Bored(tm) World
Laughter Tour, Inc.
Home of the Original Certified Laughter Leader Training
"Look for the Happy World logo to be sure it's a World Laughter Tour program."
I certainly am not against laughter, but the whole article seemed so over the top. I mean, "learning to walk like a penguin, laugh like a lion, and blurt ha ha, hee hee, and ho ho." What does that even mean? Military families DO need laughter because it probably isn't funny when your family member is risking their life everyday. The Pentagon's association with this I see as a little disingenuous. Perhaps if they did not send young people into battles in unnecessary wars they wouldn't have to worry about making them laugh.

I agree laughter is a great mechanism to use in the psychological recovery of people. I tend to think there are ways to avoid their conditions in the first place. I also agree with you that humor makes the un-bearable bearable. I find many events in our political scene these days un-bearable and so I make fun of them.

I found "Scotty" Scott's comment a little callous. In his quote he is essentially saying military families have no reason to laugh, that's why his program works! Well, why don't they have a reason to laugh? It was this theme I found in the USA Today article to be unintentionally funny and absurd. Every one just seemed happy-go-lucky and never questioning WHY their work was necessary.

Steve also informed me that "Scotty" Scott has shown the cartoon to "top brass" at the Pentagon. We here at Idiot Box are very proud to entertain Pentagon War Planners and hope they got a good hearty chuckle!

How did Steve find the comic? Obviously, no expert on laughter doesn't have a subscription to the Funny Times.
05.01.2006 |