WOTD: tomfoolery

Today’s word is an old-fashioned noun that should be used more often, in my opinion. It’s been replaced with coarser phrases like “bullshit” or “assbanditery.” However, unlike bullshit and assbanditery, tomfoollery is supposed to be harmless silly fun. It’s defined as “foolishness, silliness, horseplay, monkeyshines.”

But while tomfoolery is meant to be silly and more or less harmless, it can be downright annoying. A recent example of political tomfoolery is President Obama having to produce his long form birth certificate in order appease the so-called birthers. He had this to say about the situation:

“We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We’ve got better stuff to do. I have better stuff to do. We’ve got big problems to solve, and I’m confident we can solve them, but we’re going to have to focus on them – not on this.”

Of course we all know now that the “better stuff” Obama was working was the kill-or-capture raid of Osama bin Laden’s fortified house in Abottabad, which ended in the death of Numero Uno on the FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitive List.

Because these events (the birth certificate episode and Osama bin Laden’s death) happened practically simultanously, they gave rise to a meme where the utter silliness of the first story is juxaposed against the seriousness of the other, arguably one of the most profoundly important historical events of the post 9/11 world.

So far this one is my favorite:

memes - Certified Win!

Sitting around making meme pictures is another example of tomfoolery.