You’ve got to be careful with those Barry Manilow fans. They’re real touchy. You make one little joke about their idol and you’re liable to get a scathing rebuke from half a dozen lawyers.

It all began with our editorial about a class action suit accusing Ford Motor Co. of fraud for not telling its customers that its cars didn’t have a part that the company never said it had. We simply pointed out that Ford cars also lacked bullet-proof glass, infinite-capacity gas tanks, and the Greatest Hits of Barry Manilow -- and that the car maker hadn’t seen fit to publicize or correct these glaring deficiencies either.

It’s called satire. It’s meant to be funny and instructive, and often involves the intentional exaggeration of an idea or action so as to reveal the theretofore unrecognized absurdity of it. People with no sense of humor and people trying to pull a fast one – often the same people – don’t like it.

Into which category the sextet of attorneys falls, we’ll let you decide.

They wrote an indignant letter complaining that we left out information that should have been included and “chose instead to trivialize a deadly safety defect.”

The “deadly safety defect” has caused neither death nor injury, however -- which is why the suit merely posits an economic loss on the part of Ford owners whose cars don’t have a part the attorneys say they should have.

These guys are truly amazing. Not only do they know how to make a car better than the engineers at Ford; they also know how to write a better editorial.

Self-avowed altruism is what amuses us most. “Our case is about protecting consumers,” they insist.

We’re a little skeptical. When they forgo fees and pursue the case pro bono, we’ll be impressed.

In the meantime, they should take their own advice and stop pontificating on things they know nothing about.

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