I'm an unabashed Monty Python fan.
I'm not as fixated as some. I can only recite parts of the dead cat skit and don't know all the words to the spam song (actually, practically everyone knows all the words, it's just most of us don't know them in exactly the right order).
I'm not crazy about the fish dance, but I nearly fall off my chair every time I see the funny walks, and my eyes invariably tear up - with laughter - when anyone so much as mentions they are looking for an argument.
I'm not a lumberjack working in the woods of British Columbia. but my brother is. and that's OK.
And the Norwegian Blue parrot is the absolutely most hilarious dead bird ever invented. He is an ex-parrot. but the joke is still as alive and as funny as it was decades ago.
I believe what makes Monty Python so incredibly funny is that, as ridiculous as the out-of-this-world skits get, they are actually not as funny as real life.
It's just that, when it happens in real life, you often don't feel like laughing, but when it's presented as a comedic skit, you have permission to bust your gut.
We see stuff happening all the time that makes us cringe or makes us angry or makes us pine for the fjords of a lighter, happier world.
But as horrible as they may be in the real world, such things would be perfect fodder for the Monty Python gang, would 'twere they were still creating their own world and putting it to. the Inquisition (*gasp*)!
Case in point is the bizarre case of the free speech ban.
Free speech is banned all over the place, you say?
What could be funny about banning free speech?
On its own, It's too nasty for ordinary, banal humour, it's not painful enough for shock humour, and it's not unusual enough to pick away at with farce.
From a comedic point of view, the subject needs more context to make it funny, and it needs a special twist of its own to make it hilarious.
First, let's move the free speech ban to Canada, where we arrogantly assume - against all reason and evidence - that such things don't happen here, that we are free to think as we please, and allowed to discuss our thoughts openly and freely with whomever we please, without fear of retribution from an authoritarian state.
And for the extra twist, we turn to Prince Rupert's school board - an enlightening bunch of guardians of education (at least for those who believe it is the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows board of school trustees who put the Y in dysfunctional.
Prince Rupert School District has banned its teachers from speaking freely about. wait for it. free speech.
Some Prince Rupert teachers have been wearing - much to the consternation of their Pythonesque school trustees - T-shirts adorned with a stylized version of one of the most famous Shakespeare quotes of all, the opening of Hamlet's soliloquy questioning the meaning of existence.
The question, framed as "2(b) or not 2(b)?" on the front of the T-shirts, is backed with further explanation on the back, through the text of Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: "2(a) freedom of religion, 2(b) freedom of expression, 2(c) freedom of peaceful assembly, and 2(d) freedom of association."
And now for something completely different.