Writing about books in the way we do, that is subjectively — hopefully not superficially — has some distinct disadvantages versus the academic alternative, that is some methodological critique rooted firmly in a (hopefully) tried-and-true objective form of analysis. Primarily, that the DBC form sometimes boils down to an uncomfortable and difficult-to-write-about reality: I don’t like this and it’s kind of difficult to articulate why. See: The Funny Man. There was no pre-Ford (either one, actually) critic in my holster to reach for; it came down to arguments that, upon re-reading, seem mean and petty and difficult to defend. I stand by the fact that that book was egregious in its miserable deployment of humor, relentless in its inability to make me crack a smile; it sucked.
But someone could ask why? And I could say to that someone, “It’s not funny.” And someone — maybe not that someone but another someone — could say it’s funny. Some people must think so; John Warner’s a well-known, respected dude. He works for McSweeney’s. He just led a two-day bootcamp on humor writing. All this despite the fact I don’t find him funny. Come on, America! Rise up! Continue reading