Funny Bone Ache

Now that every circuit in my brain isn’t tied up in writing, I thought I’d make an effort to do some reading for a change. We’ve had a copy of George Carlin’s book “When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops” on the bookshelf for a while: it was a gift from my Mom to the Curmudgeonly Lion at Christmas because of a running family joke about the fact that they always seem to serve pork whenever we come to visit. I hadn’t bothered trying to crack it for the last six months, but it seemed like it might be a fun and easy book to give me a toehold back into the reading habit.

This has not turned out to be the case.

I *think* the book is supposed to be funny, but if it is then I still haven’t gotten to the good bits. The text is divided up into disparate units under various headings which may or may not relate to one another. It’s like reading the train of thought of your misogynist uncle who got ahold of a dictophone after having a few beers.

Generally speaking, I like the comedic styling of George Carlin: I like his irreverent attitude towards institutions of power, and I don’t mind jokes being slightly off color of they make a good point… That said, the humor in this book (Copyright 2004) has not aged well. Men are stupid. Women are crazy. How gross can we get about sex and gynecology? Good, political correctness is the worst, amiright?

Have I, as my generation had so often been accused, lost my sense of humor? Or is it shitty humor that people used to get away with? I mean, I know that humor lives in the same neighborhood as transgression and discomfort, but usually it has a twist that makes a point. So far this book just feels like someone just trying to push the edge for the sake of edginess, and to say things that are shocking just to get a rise out of people. But it mostly feels like being pummeled. A lot of the jokes feel like they are “punching down”: making fun of people with less power than the speaker like a bully telling a joke about the weird kid on the playground: it’s easy and obvious and I expected better.

Anyway, I’ll give it a few more pages, but I might have to give it up. I used to be the kind of person who would hate-read a book to the end just to finish it: as if abandoning the book without finishing it was somehow letting the terrorists win. Increasingly, though, I keep telling myself that there are too many good books in the world to waste my precious reading time on one that doesn’t resonate with me.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 2, 2019.

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