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Dying laughing

January 21, 2007|Joel Pett | Joel Pett is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist of the Lexington Herald-Leader. His work also appears in USA Today.

Nobody executes a capital (punishment) idea on deadline like editorial cartoonists, and we've had plenty of shots lately. As if Saddam Hussein's taunt-peppered YouTube noose event wasn't enough, there was that second Baghdad hanging during which heads actually did roll. Although fouled-up string-ups perfectly suit our downbeat brand of suspended animation, Mike Lester's guillotine scene and Tony Auth's injection depiction carry plenty of sting, even without that swing.

Strictly speaking, these pieces are run-of-the-mill black humor, not gallows humor, which by definition comes from the victim-to-be, or the victim-about-not-to-be. Punch lines attributed to threatened polar bears don't really qualify.

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