Things that are not funny…

Half-assed articles from supposed “humorist” Joel Stein. A lot of blogs have offered commentary on this piece from Stein that laments his loss of beloved Edison, New Jersey to Indians.

For a while, we assumed all Indians were geniuses. Then, in the 1980s, the doctors and engineers brought over their merchant cousins, and we were no longer so sure about the genius thing. In the 1990s, the not-as-brilliant merchants brought their even-less-bright cousins, and we started to understand why India is so damn poor.

Get it? I don’t. I must be related to one of those dim-witted cousins.

Eventually, there were enough Indians in Edison to change the culture. At which point my townsfolk started calling the new Edisonians “dot heads.” One kid I knew in high school drove down an Indian-dense street yelling for its residents to “go home to India.” In retrospect, I question just how good our schools were if “dot heads” was the best racist insult we could come up with for a group of people whose gods have multiple arms and an elephant nose.

Oh Gawd. I can’t even begin. Too Tired to mock. I mean really, why go to school if not to learn the latest racial slurs? That’s what I plan on teaching my kids this year, anyway.

So, the general theme of the article seems to be, “Gaaah, Indians are everywhere!!” RUN FOR COVER! Hilarious. I mean, how does this even pass for a humor article. Because, I was under the impression that humorists are supposed to be, you know, funny. This isn’t the first time Stein has written something totally inane. Consider this piece about women, a topic Stein clearly knows a lot about.

You know how ladies, when they don’t get what they want, can go a little crazy? Am I right, fellas? Right now, they’re pretty upset about losing their first chance at a female president. This would have empowered little girls, shattered sexist beliefs about female incompetence and forced men around the world to view a woman as an agent of power instead of a sex object — all of which, it turns out, are important to women even though they buy Star magazine. Ladies are complicated.

Indeed we are. I mean, there is no other way to explain how buying a gossip magazine totally disqualifies someone from holding power. Or is that even what Stein is saying? I’m confused. Thinking is hard.

In the wake of articles like these, it seems necessary to state the obvious- stick to the familiar. In other words, don’t write about what you don’t know. See, I would never write a half-assed article about lifting weights or whatever it is that men do in their free time. In the same vein, I would never attempt to write a humorous article because fuck it, i’m not funny. Not in the written medium anyway. Predictably, Stein did what many white humorists seem comfortable doing these days- employing tired old stereotypes and hiding behind the guise of political correctness. But really, when it comes down to it, being called a “dot-head” just isn’t funny. For many people of color, it’s actually a reality. And there’s something particularly unfunny about that.

PS- For a genuinely hilarious response to Stein, read this.

-I

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3 responses to “Things that are not funny…

  1. Haha, who the fuck is this guy Joel Stein? I will have to look into him. I sorta can’t believe this was published in Time magazine.

  2. I just found your blog and I really enjoyed reading your entries. The funniest thing about Joel Stein is that he thinks he is funny and he is not … But if TIME continues to offer him a page to share his sense of humor, I want Joel Stein to try to tackle the following subjects with his special “funny” skills: “bailout of corporate America”, “Genetically modified food industry”, “lack of affordable health care”, “unemployement”, “foreclosures” … go for it Joel!

  3. hey. i found you by accident. i have a wordpress blog similar in intensity to yours called “Probably a Disgust at U.S. Culture”. And I am 23 yrs old. An alien Pariah. (http://sertulariae.wordpress.com/)

    whereas you take a critical path, i am a dark existentialist

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