March 07, 2006

Recent AIM conversation with Gregor:

Aperockets: holy shit! the library is so crazy...all the non-basement floors just closed so everybody studying for midterms just SWARMED the basement
Aperockets: plus there's a test fire alarm going off
Googs218: the library is weird
Aperockets: dude...okay, so Battlestar Galactica is a GREAT show
Googs218: i hear this
Googs218: i hear this
Googs218: i just finished freak and geeks

Yep. In rapid succession I declared that the library was a crazy place to be, and professed my love for a show about adventures in space. I am also wearing a pink shirt with a grey tie and earlier I listened to a streaming Belle & Sebastian concert with a HUGE shit-eating grin on my face.

Please understand that I want to beat me up.

(I tried to assuage the nerdness by telling a cute girl that walked by, "Shorty, you killin' it." It did not help that I said this inaudibly under my breath.)


To keep with our theme of nerd pursuits, here are some thoughts on the art of comedy. You are forwarned.

I'm in a Creative Writing class, which is, for a bunch of liberal arts, history, politics, and drama majors a temporary respite from learning actual stuff and then applying it, and for me, just another chance to make shit up and get class credit for it. We've been doing poetry. A kid wrote a very angry sonnet about the Bush administration (every morning a barge takes all the angry sonnets about the Bush administration produced by NYU kids and dumps them at a specific spot on the East River. In three weeks we will have a manmade island rivalling Manhattan itself.) and it ended in a funny couplet that wasn't in the exact same tone as the rest of the poem.

This girl (whose notes and work I usually find pretty sound) WENT OFF on it. She couldn't stand that here was this angry poem and it ended, gasp, funny. Had to be gotten rid of, she said, didn't fit. Diminished the rest of the poem with its non-seriousness. Serious and non-serious can't mix and shouldn't. It upset me for the rest of the day.

I don't know, I just feel like (and it wasn't even my poem, don't know why I was so bothered) I'm gonna be fighting that my whole life. The idea that comedy is all well and good so long as it stays in its ghetto and doesn't taint the realm of The Serious. I tried to argue that the line kept the poem from being entirely pedantic, humanized it, but nobody was trying to hear it. That shit infuriates me. Life doesn't bother to try and keep a straight face, life is wonderful and terrible and the fact that it can be all those things in a day (or a second) means it's funny as fuck. And the things that can balance the wonder and the terror and the laughs in as close a proximity as possible are the most lifelike and ring the truest. Not necessarily the most "dramatic," in the amped-up four-cliffhangers-an-hour sense of the word: 24 doesn't have a whole lotta laugh breaks, and 24 doesn't come off terribly true. But The Sopranos does, The Wire does, Rescue Me does, fucking Battlestar Galactica does, because you never get the feeling the producers of the show said "a certain amount of time has to elapse between somebody laughing and somebody dying."

Because it doesn't have to elapse. Played right, dying is HYSTERICAL, and played right, a laugh will make death feel more real and that reality will make it hurt more. It won't just be okay to have comedy and drama in the same hour: it'll be essential.

And going with the assumption that couplets make things feel less pedantic, here's one I call "The Difficulties Inherent In Creating a Squck."

I have a squirrel and I have a duck,
I don't have a way to get them to fuck.

Posted by DC at March 7, 2006 10:39 PM
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