Humorlessness Now Near Soviet Levels of Dreariness With the nation's killjoys in ascendance, humorlessness is nearing levels not seen since the days of the famously grim Soviet Union, where, as depicted in the 1967 novel by Milan Kundera, The Joke (Czech: Žert), a simple joke could send the jokester to a concentration camp. The rising level of cheerlessness in the US has experts worried. "Humor plays a central and little understood role in human society," said Professor Arnaud Williams, who teaches a course in the history of humor at the University of Maryland in College Park. "We are only just now starting to unpack the mechanics of funniness, and, trust me, it's serious business. "Many experts believe humor—see?" he said, interrupting himself. "That was at least a little bit funny and you didn't even crack a smile," he said, chastising a journalist interviewing him in his campus office. "And for the love of God, use the first person," he said. "Write 'chastising me as I interviewed him'. Everyone knows you are a human writing this, not some detached intelligence observing the world from some objective universe somewhere. "It has the whiff of deception, frankly," he railed, his face turning red as he leaned in aggressively toward a Street Juice journalist. "And stop calling yourself a 'journalist'", he continued in a manner one observer described as "angrily". "You aren't that fucking special. You are a fucking reporter, sport. Every time one of you assholes uses the word 'journalist', in my head I hear it with a French accent, 'zhoor-nah-leest'. "Get over yourselves. Keep a bottle of whiskey in your desk drawer like Brad Pitt in 'A River Runs Through It'," he ranted, referring to the white heterosexual male actor who played a white heterosexual male Montana reporter in the poignant 1992 movie with an all-white cast from white heterosexual male director Robert Redford. "Just look at what happened at the White House Correspondents Dinner this year," Professor Williams continued, standing and raising his voice at this writer. "That bitch wasn't funny. She was mean and insulting. She's a smug no-talent **** and you motherfuckers defend her while she tears down the office of the elected president of 'our' country." The professor, whose suitability for a position in academia has been questioned recently, stared, his eyes widening. "Oh my God, did you really just put 'our' in quotes, you pretentious little prick? Like you are some sort of global super-citizen perched high above us deplorable nationalists?" In a rage, he sprinted to the corner where a golf bag was leaning against the wall, grabbed a 9-wood, and, turning, brandished the heavy club menacingly in the air above his head. "Plus," Professor Williams screamed after me as I fled, "isn't life just better when you are laughing?"