This Hyphenated Life / How a Little Humor Can Save the World

From Haman to Hitler, the Jewish people have resorted to humor to make the worst a bit more bearable.

As Mahmoud Ahmadinejad descends upon New York City to attend the United Nations General Assembly this week, it's time for the international community to adopt a new strategy to counter the impact of the radical Iranian leader.

Since resolutions, sanctions and military threats appear to have all fallen short, we now need to turn to a tried and true weapon that can inflict untold damage on our nemesis, and in the process let us raise a much needed smile.

A few years ago, when Ahmadinejad first began spouting his extraordinary comments, I had an epiphany of sorts. From Haman to Hitler, and assorted other tyrants whose names are too toxic to mention (hence the phrase, "may his name be erased"), the Jewish people have resorted to a legendary sense of humor to help make the most intolerable situation just a bit more bearable.

Since most of Mahmoud's statements make us want to say "Oh my God I can't believe he just said that!", was born, or at least reserved courtesy of a Web hosting company.

After a few years of inertia on my part, and just as I was about to let the domain expire into the abyss of cyberspace, last month I paid to renew it and have gotten new verve to put it to use. Since the Iranian leader's visit to New York has created a perfect storm of "if not now, when," I need help in going live! Here's what I'm thinking:

Let's create an international online community - complete with user-generated video, chat rooms and political cartoons - wrestle control from the UN, State Department and Israel's Foreign Ministry and create Web based P2P diplomacy (people to people) in which humor is the ultimate silver bullet in our arsenal.

In short, we'd unleash our collective wit, sarcasm, vitriol and outsmart this dangerous dude and create a very Web 2.0 paradigm for international relations. (At last, I can put my Masters from Columbia to good use.)

Of course, if we're really serious, we'll need to call for reinforcements and bring in the pros. We'd ask the funniest Jews in the world (non-Jews are also eligible to apply) for their shtick on Mahmoud.

Here's my proposed line-up:

  • Concert in Central Park One day he wants to push us into the sea, the next day he says he wants to be friends. Which is it? The organized Jewish community rediscovers its raison d'etre and sponsors a "Why Can't We Be Friends" singalong with President Shimon Peres leading the choir.

  • HBO Special: Mahmoud in ManhattanWoody Allen and Philip Roth co-host Mahmoud in a televised group therapy session facilitated by New York City's top shrinks.

  • Fashion Forward Donna Karen and Ralph Lauren invite the world's top fashion leaders to compete to create Mahmoud's new uniform. He can replace, or at least dry clean, those Members Only jackets he likes so much.

    As massive pop culture forces have shown, from viral emails and YouTube to Jon Stewart and the Comedy Channel, people desperately want a laugh - at themselves, at others, and especially at the ridiculousness of it all.

    Thanks to the Internet, the entire world is now one big stand-up stage, let's use it for good!

    Marco Greenberg is a communications strategist based in New York City.

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