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Legislative 'humor' backfires on Facebook

FARGO -- An email its sender in the North Dakota House calls "just a little humor" is finding a tough reception among a broader audience.

That's after the email, headed "Why Men are Seldom Depressed," made its way from a fellow House member's email -- all House members were included in the forward -- to that legislator's Facebook page with the attached directive, "Discuss."

And boy, did they ever.

"Such offensive garbage and NOT funny," "disgusting" and "It is apparent that a simple minded man is perpetuating this nonsense. Oh Sweet Jesus!, I hope he's not from my District," are among the comments on Joshua Boschee's Facebook page.

Boschee is a Democratic freshman representative from Fargo.

"I thought it was inappropriate because it was making light of mental health issues at a time when those are under discussion," Boschee said of the title of email. "It's not based on being a man versus a woman, it's based on chemical imbalances."

Boschee also said he has been posting consistently on his Facebook page about issues that are at hand in the new session in Bismarck, and that it's proven to be a good way to keep people updated.

The comments were all in response to a long list of items explaining in an evidently tongue-in-cheek way why men aren't, well, as sad as women.

The posted email included such "truisms" of modern life as: "Same work, more pay," "People never stare at your chest when you talk to them," "You can never be pregnant" and "You can be President."

"It was just something to cheer up their day as they were heading home," said the forward's author, Rep. Larry Klemin, R-Dist. 47, Bismarck. "It wasn't intended to offend anyone."

Klemin said he didn't anticipate creating controversy with the email forward, and said that he didn't think he had to include a note saying the forward didn't reflect the feelings of the sender.

"I've always been respectful of women and women's rights," he said. "I don't think there's anything to apologize for."