Politics & Media
Oct 02, 2013, 07:46AM

The Humor in a Government Shutdown

I want to do to your body what Congress is doing to government employees.

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The only people who are happy when something catastrophic yet not technically deadly happens are comedians. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and whoever writes for Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres and the rest of America’s humorati are having a field day. So are England and Canada, followed by all the other countries around the world, obviously.

The shutdown of the U.S. government struck me in two strange ways. First, I was on Instagram (which I’m embarrassed to admit I check before the news) and saw that NASA posted a notice that they wouldn’t be posting anymore. Then, I discovered people on Twitter who were upset about the panda cam shutting down. Priorities, America! Then I read the news. An odd sequence of events, admittedly. But in situations like this I’m always drawn to those who find the humor in them.


For my money, here are some of the funniest tweets about the shutdown:

@cshallwriter America was not shut down properly. Would you like to start America in safe mode with free healthcare and without the guns? (Recommended)

@HeardinLondon America is on shutdown, it’s time to start spelling “favourite” correctly.

@SethMcFarlane Per several Family Guy episodes: whenever there’s a government shutdown, we can all steal a zoo animal. Go get yours.

@lynchcarmen Let’s not get carried away, it’s not like McDonalds shut down.

@Charles_HRH The “shutdown America” button on the iPhone5 is quite impressive.


Then, as Twitter does in times of political upheaval, a new hash tag was born. I don’t know who gets to pick these things, but they always manage to pick something both completely random and totally hilarious. The winner? #shutdownpickuplines

@chriskopy Baby, I’d make sure your Grand Canyon is always fully staffed.

@FamousDC the only thing nonessential about you are those pants.

@JGreenDC It’s not like we have to work tomorrow.

@technosailor Baby, we may not agree on the budget but we can always enact a stimulus package.

@TMFFinancials Boehners lasting more than 4 hours should immediately seek medical attention.

@kweidleman Hey girl, I’d declare you essential.

@Farrellellisms Good thing you’re not in the Library of Congress, because I’m checking you out.

@DeliaCabe Hey, Park Ranger, what are you doing tomorrow?

@IDistractMe No worries, the NSA isn’t watching us tonight.


And you can always send someone a government shutdown e-card. Some of the funniest:

(A postcard): Greetings from the U.S. Capitol building: Old, white and immovable, just like the people who occupy it.

I want to do to your body what Congress is doing to government employees.

The only thing I fear more than the government shutting down is the government staying open.

And this:

I wish Facebook would shut down every time there is a political disagreement.


You just have to agree with that one.

Obviously, the shutdown isn’t funny. My husband was sent home from his government contractor job. But in times like these, if we couldn’t laugh, we would cry. What would we do if we couldn’t laugh at ourselves when other countries are also laughing directly at us?


-Follow Mary on Twitter and Instagram.


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