Chin Up: British Papers Poke Fun at Terror

Keeping with the tradition of a "stiff upper lip," newspapers in the United Kingdom are publishing cartoons, poking fun at the circumstances surrounding the foiled terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow last week.

The Daily Mail published a cartoon showing a man on an operating table asking a doctor, who's reading a manual on how to perform an appendectomy, "Before you start, Bernard, are you absolutely sure all the NHS doctors are terrorists?"

Another cartoon shows a patient on an operating table being told by a doctor, "I'm afraid there's been a slight mix-up -- the surgeon has inserted a detonator instead of a pacemaker." Michael Clarke, a terrorism expert from King's College London, says using humor to address scary national security situations is part of British tradition.


"Black humor has always been part of the culture here. If something is regarded as being beyond humor, it's too serious," says Clarke.

He draws a parallel of al Qaeda and terrorism in the U.K. to the threat of Hitler.

"During World War II, we always regarded Hitler as funny. There were newsreels and cartoons poking fun at him," says Clarke.

Clarke says the cartoons that are being published following the most recent attacks are not surprising.

"The British use humor as a way to cope, to say, 'Let's get on with it.'"

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