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Gene Weingarten: I declare these jokes groundbreaking

Washington Post
 2021-07-22

Cover picture for the articleMany years ago, when I ran The Washington Post’s Sunday Style section, a copy editor came to me with an idea for a preposterous, obnoxious, nakedly seditious story. Larry Proulx proposed writing an essay extolling the joys and virtues of jaywalking — as though it was an art form to be refined and savored. I told him that such a story would enrage Washington, whose residents are famous for overly valuing obedience to laws — a place where, for example, sputtering civic outrage is regularly mustered on Metro escalators when some motherless miscreant dares to stand left, or walk right. I knew Proulx’s story would engender fury, so of course I accepted it. We ran it across three full pages, lavishly illustrated with diagrams showing, via dotted lines and vectors, just how to break the law with panache. We photographed Larry, unapologetically jaywalking, in a tuxedo and top hat and with a fancy cane.

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