Thursday, October 18, 2007

are you sure this is the museum of surrealism

kw: book reviews, nonfiction, humor

Perhaps you had to be there. Simon Rich, former president of Harvard Lampoon, is supposed to be a very funny bloke. After reading Ant Farm and Other Desperate Situations in total impassiveness, I wonder...

This little book contains fifty-plus vignettes. The one that made the most sense, and one of the shortest, is "if life were like middle school":
JUDGE: In all my years on the bench, I have never seen a more despicable criminal. You robbed, assaulted, and tortured the victim simply for the thrill of it. Do you have anything to say in your defense before I sentence you?
JUDGE: In that case, I hereby sentence you to forty years in a maximum security prison. I also sentence the victim to forty years in prison.
VICTIM: Wait—what? That doesn't make any sense! He attacked me!
JUDGE: I don't care who started it.

At least this one makes sense. Most don't. The title piece is also comprehensible, containing this exchange between two of the ants:
—What kind of God would put us here, just to torture us? Sand to the left...sand to the right...
—It's a test, William. He's testing us.

The opening piece, a conversation between Abraham and Isaac during "the ride back to beersheba", has the father with definite second thoughts, and a son a few years older than the child in the Bible story.

Fortunately, as noted, this is a small book. I typically found myself puzzled as one incomprehensible piece gave way to the next. Maybe I'll wake up laughing tomorrow.

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