Is Brookings, South Dakota funny?

Today’s Onion yields us the following diamond in the rough purportedly from Brookings, a non-fictional town in South Dakota:

BROOKINGS, SD—Local 11-year-old Dylan Adams entered the stage in childhood development Wednesday in which a boy feels the uncontrollable desire to run, jump, and touch the top of every doorframe he encounters. “It is perfectly natural for young males to start exhibiting a tendency to touch things that are slightly higher than they can reach from a normal standing position,” child psychologist Gerald Bakerfield said. “In many cases, the child is experimenting with his newfound ability to make his own choices, whether that means jumping to touch ceilings, street signs, or low-hanging tree branches.” Bakerfield added that Adams would soon progress from the jumping-and-touching-doorways phase to the crossing-your-arms-over-your-chest-turning-around-and-pawing-at-the-back-of-your-own-shoulders-to-make-it-seem-like-you’re-making-out-with-someone phase.

Some Onion pieces leave me Rolling On The Floor Laughing. Others merely transport me to a slightly quirky place. But this one doesn’t give me any visceral response at all. I just want to dissect it. And why not. According to Aristotle, “Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit.”

So where is the joke here? First there is the psychologist. Psychology has a reputation among some as “the study of the obvious by the incompetent” as well as a propensity for advancing theories of development by stages. So is this a question of a psychologist making a comment about something many would find obvious? Or a comment about the field’s endless supply of development stage theories?

And why South Dakota? Is this a type of bumpkin joke? Or is South Dakota considered to be so common-sense oriented that it’s an unlikely place for a psychologist to make a comment, much less be quoted in a news service?

And why Brookings (so many historical buildings and not one photo)? Is Brookings funny?  Maybe the Campanile?  Hobo Day (the local homecoming parade)?

Maybe the Lake Woebegone style three Lutheran churches and one Methodist Church?

Or Nick’s Hamburger Shop on Main Street? Or maybe their old-fashioned attitude towards witchcraft?

If there is something even remotely tongue in cheek about Brookings, someone please point it out to me.

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