Marvin Olasky

The editor offered a few jokes about writing and grammar that he had read in McSweeney's: "The bar was walked into by the passive voice." No one laughed. "A dangling modifier walks into a bar. After finishing a drink, the bartender asks it to leave." No one laughed. He tried one more: "Why did a reporter go into labor and yell, 'Couldn't! Wouldn't! Shouldn't! Didn't'? Because she was having contractions." The women stared angrily.

The day after the party, the editor went walking and saw a sign, "Talking dog for sale in the back yard." The editor looked and saw a black Labrador. "You talk?" he asked. "Yep," the dog replied. "I used to be a reporter. I jetted from country to country and got into rooms with world leaders, 'cause no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. After getting lots of scoops and winning multiple Pulitzers, I retired." The editor was even more amazed at the Lab's price: only $10. The editor handed over the money but said, "I have to ask: "Why does such an amazing dog cost so little?" The owner replied, "He's a stinkin' liar."

That evening, lonely in retirement but now with a dog, the editor went through his final cartoon folder, labeled "Life." The first one showed a dozen editors around a table as one said, "OK—Whose turn is it to set the moral tone?" The second depicted one prisoner telling another, "All along I thought our level of corruption fell well within community standards." The third showed a man in hell complaining to a devil carrying a whip, "There's been some ghastly mistake! My Times obituary exceeded two columns and included a photograph."

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of the national news magazine World. For additional commentary by Marvin Olasky, visit
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