Funny or Foul? The Fine Line Between Humor and Offense

Next up appears to be conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh whose Web site features a song called "Barack the Magic Negro" to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon."

The song, performed by white comedian Paul Shanklink mimicking the Rev. Al Sharpton, has hit a bad note among liberal bloggers, fresh off Imus' fall from grace.

No Laughing Matter

Sometimes, what a politician or a president doesn't say speaks louder than any words.

At this year's annual White House correspondents dinner, the president declined the opportunity to yuck it up with the reporters, dignitaries and celebrities who gathered for the gala.

Traditionally an opportunity to exchange friendly barbs with daily foes, the president said that out of respect for those who died in the massacre at Virginia Tech, he would forgo humor in favor of solemnity.

Many respected the president's decision, but some wondered how the events at Virginia Tech, while certainly tragic, differed in magnitude from the toll suffered by U.S. soldiers engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There seems to be no certain formula -- no moment at which it's right or better to invoke humor than any other. And while laughter may still be known as the world's best medicine, it still proves fatal to some politicians.

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