Harley Quinn died last week at a Glenn Beck event. The 47 year-old comic assigned to Beck by The Ruling Authority choked on his own words and died on-stage before an audience of Mr. Beck's fans.
The county coroner, a Republican appointee, ruled the death a suicide by self-strangulation.
The Jester Program was sit up by the R.A. to counteract the extreme ideas and opinions of political demagogues and other verbal bomb-throwers through satire. The program sought to reprise the historic and traditional role of the jester, which was to soften or moderate the more extreme impulses of kings and other potentates through humor.
Jesters have been assigned to accompany several public personages deemed socially dangerous by the R.A.
However, in Mr. Quinn's case the job proved fatal. When Mr. Beck opined That Congresswoman Michelle Bachman was being ousted from the U.S. Congress because of her opposition to "radical Islam", Mr. Quinn made several jokes relating to the phrase "deep penetration", words used by Ms. Bachman to describe Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the Obama administration. The audience of rabid Beck fans seemed not to get the jokes.
Then, when Mr. Beck went on to describe Michelle Obama as "a monster", and referred to her as "Lady Macbeth", Mr. Quinn attempted to out-Beck Mr. Beck. He said that Ms. Obama was, in actuality, a vampire, feeding on social conservatives to turn them into liberal gay Democrats. The audience reacted, to his mortification, as though his words were literal truth--received wisdom.
It was then that Mr. Quinn's hands went to his throat, his face turned beet red, and he collapsed to the floor. No attempts were made to revive him.
There have been other unintended consequences of the Jester Program. In one instance, the jester assigned to Michele Bachman was unexpectedly drafted into the Tea Party primary candidacy by write-in vote. Evidently, those voters mistook his hyperbole for fact.
In another instance, one of the two jesters assigned to Rush Limbaugh (Mr. Limbaugh's fans were deemed by the R.A. to be so far removed from reality as to require extra help.) has been contracted by Fox News to host a show on that network. Apparently, the jester relapsed into complete cynicism by his inability to counteract the cognitive dissonance inherent in the Fox demographic. Reached for comment, the jester was quoted as saying, "Even a fool has to eat, you know."
The spokesperson for the R.A. commented on the setbacks to the program. "We thought we would inspire people to more rational thought, jolt them back into reality, counteract the insanity. Unfortunately, our target groups seem to be immune to reason. We are scrapping the program and may have to resort to more radical interventions."