Recently Rupert Murdock, CEO of News Corp., was attacked in the middle of a Parliamentary hearing by an activist, whose weapon of choice was… a pie. And though it reads like a joke, not a lot of people have been laughing about it. But why? Shouldn’t it be funny? After all, how terrifying could a pan of fluffy whipped cream really be?

But as this article from the New Republic quite brilliantly points out, that’s not the point. True, a pan of whipped cream isn’t likely to cause any permanent physical damage to anyone, but pie-throwing individuals aren’t trying to cause physical damage; nor are they (really) trying to be very funny; instead, they’re trying to damage a person’s reputation by making them an object of ridicule, and in such a light, an action that could be funny under different circumstances actually becomes woefully humorless. Perhaps this just highlights what the writer of Ecclesiastes was getting at when he said, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Indeed there is, but it is our task to figure out which activity is called for at a particular time – and pie-throwing, it seems, is not an activity for Parliament.