I was going to write today about the dangers of trying to be funny in elevators at American conferences – but Rod Liddle beat me to it in the Sunday Times.
This spares me writing about the hapless hero of the hour, Ned Lebow, and the pantomime villain, Simona Sharoni. If I had decided to write about this, I'd probably not have resisted mentioning Mrs Slocombe's cat – if only to pile in a cultural reference of my own to the glorious Are you being Served. This was broadcast at a time when we preferred humour to be funny. And Grace Bros was a place where it was always safe to say Ladies' Lingerie in a lift.
So, if you want to rejoice in Mrs Slocombe's cat, just go to YouTube – and for an explanation, go here, where the Guardian will explain why it's funny.
Meanwhile, I see that Professor Lebow has been fighting back over the weekend against humourlessness, and is still refusing to apologise. Good for him. The lesson I draw from all this nonsense is that there comes a point when professors should stop going to conferences. Think of all the frustration we'll cause to those waiting to be offended.