There was a court ruling in Texas the other day which has been getting a lot attention. But I think that for all that attention, everyone has missed what is to me the bigger, far funnier story. (Assuming that your definition of "funny" includes deep irony.)
You may have read about the case, which has gained notoriety for the judge's sense of humor in both the puns with which he peppered his ruling, but also the title he gave the case.
(Quickly, what was at stake is whether or not the women working at a "gentleman's club" need to wear more clothing.)
Here is the first page of the official court document, with the title to the ruling giving by the judge, along with his opening paragraph that sets the question of the case. It turns out that what that opening paragraph also set was the tone for what was to follow --
Needless-to say, this is what has (understandably) caught the public's attention. It's not often that such an official and serious setting as the court system provides fodder for a stand-up comedy act. But the judge was only just getting started.
On the second page of the ruling, His Honor reached deep into his copy of Shakespeare's Guide to Puns for All Occasions and threw caution to the wind. And it's worth noting, by the way, that this wasn't some small, backwoods courthouse where the judge always took full leeway to, as they might say at comedy clubs, improvise -- or go off-script -- but (as you'll note above) the U.S. Disctrict court. If fact, this wasn't just from any judge, but from Chief US District Judge Fred Biery,
It's also worth noting that because what he wrote so amusingly stood out so much, it obscured what was (for me) far more "funny." But I'll get to that in a moment. First, Judge Biery continued --
You have to admit, over-the-top as it is, that's not bad for a court ruling. You have to smile at the giddy fun Judge Biery must have had in writing his ruling. And it's spot-on clear why it's what's gotten so much attention all over -- including newspapers overseas.
What leaped out to me, however, was something else, something that's slipped through the attention. There were no jokes in what he wrote, it was simply the judge stating factually the law that was under question. It appeared at the very top of Page 2.
And there it is.
At stake in the law -- the very first thing on the list -- what the City of San Antonio was insisting on changing the law to include --
-- was background checks! For employees at a strip club. (Sorry, "gentleman's club.") Background checks. The city is okay with them for what clothes women can wear in a private club. But don't you dare impose them on our AR-15 semiautomatic rifle...!!
Thank God for Texas. At least as far as material for comedy goes.
In fairness, I'm sure that this isn't only a Texas Thing. If you're against any form of gun control down to the itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeniest bullet, you're against it. But it's still sure tough to miss the irony anyway.
Background checks for pasties. No background checks for what the FBI considers (literally) weapons of mass destruction.
By the way, the request for an injunction by the plaintiffs (the private club) was denied. The city's right to background checks was upheld.
Keeping America Safe. One bra at a time.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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