How Publishing Is Rigged You thought it was a meritocracy??

8Sep/11

It’s So Very Droll

The Literary business has a completely backwards idea of what makes something funny. Something truly funny is going to have you laughing out loud, regardless of where you are, or who you’re with, or what you were just doing. Something that is truly funny is going to compel you to react in an honest, heartfelt way, without ego, and without artifice. On the contrary, something classified as “funny” by a Lit Biz person is seen to the rest of us as arch, detached, and aloof. A Lit Biz person’s reaction to something that they think is funny would be along the lines of “Ho ho, Barron Worthington Huntersmythe the Fourth, now that is so droll, I tell you, so very droll. Good one, Barron.” These people, they're so uptight.

People in the literary business value archness and distance as indicators of a humorous piece of writing. Nothing that is actually funny. “Wryly observed” is how they would describe their version of funny. The entire industry has decided that what's detached and ironic (their version of ironic) is “funny.” And as a result, we don't get to read anything that's actually funny anymore. We're stuck with this non-funny version of funny.

A “Humor” magazine called McSweeney’s Internet Tendency will publish things like this:

Example 1: Excerpt from “After A Thorough Battery Of Tests We Can Now Recommend “The Newspaper” As The Best E-Reader On The Market.” by John Flowers:

This is the very beginning of the story:

For the past three weeks our team of engineers has analyzed the most popular e-readers on the market in order to confer our annual “Editor's Choice” Award.

Devices were judged on a variety criteria [sic] to see how each functioned given a set of circumstances. The criteria themselves were weighted for the final score; individual and final grades were assigned on a curve.

Each device had its strengths. For some it was speed; for others it was capacity. Some were better with shorter articles; others with longer works. And cost, as always, was a factor. But in the end, one e-reader stood out.

The Newspaper.

CLICK TO READ MORE...It’s So Very Droll