A few brief comments.
* First of all, no one mentioned any sort of initiation of force on this thread. Simply because I may think it is improper for some people to laugh on certain occasions, I am not trying to "impose" my terms on them. They are free to do whatever they wish. And I am also free to be disgusted by them in the process. Thus, for fairness' sake, do not, Jeremy, try to twist my words into something they are not.
* To Ms. Branden: The case of Norman Cousins is indeed anecdotal evidence at best. Correlation does not necessarily imply causation. Perhaps the Vitamin C cured Mr. Cousins, or another factor we have not yet considered. Your thesis may, of course, be correct, but I would like to see a definitive scientific study verifying it first. I will not hesitate to grant the contention that laughter may have beneficial fysiological effects, if such a contention is scientifically proved beyond reasonable doubt. Moreover, this still would not imply that we ought to laugh for the sake of laughing. Rather, this would mean that we could actively seek out actual situations that would inspire laughter. Examples of this could include writing or reading satirical works, seeking out witty aforisms, or, even better, working toward a genuine success that inspires triumfant, i.e. non-humorous, laughter.
If your thesis were indeed true (which it may be), none of it would imply laughing at things that must not be laughed at. Above all, we must recall Rand's urging, in Anthem, to retain a "temple of the spirit" within oneself, an ego which is kept entirely pure and sacrosanct, which admits no mockery of itself or of the things dear to it.
G. Stolyarov II
Editor-in-Chief, The Rational Argumentator
Proprietor, The Rational Argumentator Online Store
Author, Eden against the Colossus
Chief Administrator, Chicago Methuselah Foundation Fund