Inappropriate responses: cases of guilty laughter

Have you ever experienced “guilty laughter”?

BE WARNED. A TERRIFYING new disease is spreading around the world.

Medical authorities haven't classified it yet, but I would like to propose the name "Inappropriatitis."

Sufferers display uncontrollably inappropriate responses to events in front of them.


I've had it all my life. I can't count the number of movies I've been to where I've laughed out loud at the tragic death of the hero---only to discover that I'm sitting next to the screenwriter.

But I'm no longer alone. These days, the majority of you readers seem to have it. You sent me four recent news items which trigger technically inappropriate responses.


1) You're not supposed to want to applaud people charged with theft, right?

Well, a 23-year-old woman in Australia provided a bank account to internet scammers based in Nigeria. When money was deposited in the account, she took it. Surely anyone who scams the Nigerian scamsters deserves a medal?!

scammed nigerians


2) You're not supposed to feel sorry for muggers, right?

A man tried to rob a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida, armed with his finger last week. He slipped his hand under his shirt and pretended he had a gun. A staff member and a customer laughed at him until he fled. This poor soul will need years of therapy.



3) You're not supposed to admire the cheek of shoplifters, right?

Eric Lee King of Minnesota was charged with stealing a television with a 19-inch screen --- by slipping it into his trousers. He managed to get out of the shop and into the parking lot before a police officer noticed the massive rectangular bulge.

tv in pants


But the ultimate example comes from Asia.

4) You're not supposed to feel awe at the chutzpah of conmen, right?

But how else can you react to a Taiwanese man named Lin who got a vast sum of cash from a businessman by selling him a "holy figurine" that would banish evil spirits from his life.


It was an Elmo soft toy. This man has an amazing future in sales.


To cure inappropriatitis, listen to Jess Thoms on the internet. She has possibly the world's oddest disease, which causes her to put the word "biscuit" into every sentence.

jess thoms touretteshero

When a BBC reporter asked her to explain her illness, she said: "Biscuit, Tourettes is a complex neurological condition, biscuit. It involves biscuit ticks which include biscuit vocal tics, biscuit, which you can hear."

At first, you think she's teasing, but she's so sincere and charming that you stop laughing and realize she's telling the truth. She really does have a bizarre psychological disease.

Mind you, she doesn't say whether it's biscuit infectious. Anyway, I think we should all biscuit adopt her "vocal tic" in solidarity.


In the meantime, could biscuit screenwriters kindly stop making biscuit movies in which the biscuit hero dies!?! Consider yourself warned.


QUESTIONS: What causes “guilty laughter”? Can it be cured?


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