Friday, April 20, 2012

No off button

kw: book reviews, nonfiction, essays, e-mails, humor

This may not be the dumbest thing to go viral, but it must be the simplest. The little article titled "overdue" at 27b/6 is really what went viral: David Thorne wrote a humorous piece in the form of a stack of e-mails back and forth with a creditor: he tried to pay a bill by sending the picture of a spider. When they wouldn't accept it, he asked for it back, then added the missing 8th leg and sent it again. They wouldn't take it, so he asked them to send it back.

Thorne's book the internet is a playground: Irreverent Correspondences of an Evil Online Genius is a collection of articles and essays (loosely so called) and e-mail stacks from the web site. There are a few stock characters, such as Simon, who gets David involved in several humorous scrapes, such as camping trips to nowhere; Thomas, whose big head is the focus of the fun; and Shannon, who must be a receptionist or similar sort of clerk at the design agency Thorne claims to work for.

As the articles (etc.) make clear, the author's primary goal in life is to mess with as many minds as possible. He is unfailingly kind, in a knife-twisting sort of way that drives his correspondents (all of them imaginary, I suppose) right up the wall. I realized he is dallying with the boundary between reality and delusion, quite purposefully: His writing has the obsessive-and-just-won't-stop quality of a schizophrenic's word salad, but actually makes more sense.

It is not certain just where Thorne lives. The "About the Author" blurb inside the book states that he lives in Adelaide. The one on the back cover says he lives in Virginia. I wouldn't put it past him to live somewhere else entirely. It's in keeping with what-all else he has done.

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