First O.J. was arrested again. This time for robbery. He said he wanted his stuff back.

Then, Britney began battling her ex, Kevin Federline, for the kids. There are some who apparently think she is an unfit mother. Go figure.

And let's not forget about the guy who wanted to make a political statement during a forum for Senator John Kerry and was silenced by a taser gun.

Moments before he was zapped, he screamed, “Don't taze me, bro!”

Then he went limp.

Meanwhile, cartoonists across the country are having a field day depicting it all and editors are delighting in their latest choice in editorial cartoons.

Nothing, after all, alleviates stress like a good laugh, and at a time when much of what's happening in the world is not funny, cartoons that depict stupidity is something to celebrate.

In fact, one of the things I enjoy most about my job is choosing which editorial cartoons to run. The staff knows when I've come across a good one because the laughter permeating my office walls tips ‘em off. Laughter is the litmus test I use when choosing the cartoons. If it makes me laugh, chances are it will make the editorial page.

Not everyone, however, agrees on what's funny and what's not. Cartoonists have been lambasted for their work by those who either have no sense of humor or simply don't get it. In an effort to avoid offending anyone, some newspapers have gone so far as to boycott artists they deem too risky or offensive.

And while I understand the desire to avoid unwanted controversy, doing so could be dangerous. Interpreting cartoons, after all, is risky business. They're not supposed to be taken literally and their meaning can be easily misconstrued depending on one's faith, ethnicity or political affiliation.

About two weeks ago, I received an anonymous note from someone who didn't like the choices I was making.

“Don't you have a brain in your head?” the letter asked, as my heart sank and I thought, “Here we go.”

“If I see anything like this again, I'll cancel my subscription,” then I pulled out the offending cartoons, which had been graciously clipped and mailed back to me.

Staring back were three cartoons. One depicting a bikini-clad and very chubby Britney Spears dancing at the MTV awards; another depicting how historians and revisionists will some day interpret the war in Iraq; and yet another that showed an arrow pointing one way to a surge in the war, while soldiers ran in the opposite direction.

Cartoonists trying to make a point don't usually do so with a lot of decorum. More importantly, they're supposed to make us laugh. That's why they're called cartoons.

And when that's forgotten, we become the joke.

SARA VANDEN BERGE is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-968-2379, ext. 240.