Amid the tense atmosphere of Attorney General Eric Holder’s testimony on Capitol Hill came a bizarre exchange in which representative Louie Gohmert (R-Tex) accused Holder of attacking his integrity and “casting aspersions on my asparagus.”

In isolation, it’s almost Dada-esque. In context, it’s about equally bizarre. Cast aspersions on asparagus? Next you’ll be slandering his slaw or belittling his beets or doing something equally alliterative to his cauliflower.

Keep asparagus out of it.

Unlike celery, which is misery incarnate, asparagus never did anything to anyone, except occasionally increase the acidity of our urine. The only fact I can readily supply about it is that I read in an etiquette book once that it was acceptable to eat it with your fingers. Also, it cameo’ed in this suggestive Newsweek cover, back in the days when Newsweek had covers.

Some on Twitter have suggested that there is a long and sordid history between Rep. Gohmert and asparagus. Perhaps he keeps a secret stash somewhere in Argentina, in flagrant disregard for the broccoli with which he has been in a committed relationship for the past decade. Perhaps this is why the issue proved so sensitive.

Still, considering what regular, un-aspersed asparagus does to you, we should all quail at the prospect of upsetting it. From Rep. Gohmert’s plaintive tone, I think the asparagus has had about all it can take.

And that wasn’t even the most ridiculous statement at the hearing. But the other ones weren’t funny.