Wednesday, September 12, 2007

And Now for Something Completely Denkkerent

I like to think that I have a good sense of humor, but it rarely manifests as a laugh. I'm trying to lighten up and not be encumbered with phrases like "manifests as a laugh."

But for now, it is rare for me to laugh aloud, particularly when reading something.

And yet, there is this classical pianist named Jeremy Denk, whose writing is so imaginative and strangely witty that I have found myself actually laughing aloud at his blog. It's quite amazing.

It was after being steeped in 9/11 memories and sadness that I read his take on our poor Miss Teen South Carolina, and like at the end of Sullivan's Travels, was reminded that comedy is a great gift to the world:

By now, we are all familiar with the recent performance of Miss Teen South Carolina. (I know what you’re already thinking: “why, Jeremy, why from the shelter of your Upper West Side comfort, hemmed in by prolific ATMs, would you feel the perverse need to pile any more scorn upon this poor girl? Just get a puppy if you need something to do!”)

I think it helps to divorce oneself from the visual component of this event, and focus on the pitiless words themselves:

Q: Recent Polls indicate a 5th of Americans can’t locate the US on a world map. Why do you think this is?

A: I personally believe that US Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the US should help the US or should help South Africa it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for us.

… and they say poetry is dead! Grammar itself cowers in terror before this free-ranging masterpiece. [snip]

The proper vehicle for addressing this text is musical, not semantic or grammatical (though it refers to the semantic and grammatical in order to create its pseudo-musical paradigms). It begins innocently enough, with seeming Mozartean grace:

Antecedent phrase: I personally believe the US Americans are unable to do so…
(moving from tonic to dominant)

Consequent phrase: because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps.
(dominant back to tonic)

And on Jeremy goes, with such pearls of wisdom as "She has absorbed the lessons of Verlaine, but has transported them to Applebee’s."

His post on airline online checkin issues is equally entertaining.

Pop on over at your own risk. A doctorate in comparative lit and a degree in music will be useful, but isn't necessary. That airline stuff--it's like having Alan King back in his prime.


kathleenmaher said...

My laughter runs in cycles. When in its throes--and if I've gone long enough without a good laugh practically anything can set me off--I'm screaming and crying and pounding the floor, or if I'm not careful, pounding some poor unsuspecting other person's shoulders.
The price for such glee? I weep as easily and considerably more often. Bitter tears are different from happy ones in every way. The angry/sad/frustrated/depressed tears irritate my eyes and skin.
Now while I've trained myself not to weep in public, laughing, I've always thought, should be allowed. After all, it can be contagious. My sense of humor, however, is atypical and apparently laughing out loud in public for no obvious reason is as disturbing to many people as sobbing into a handkerchief.
Ms. S. Carolina makes me laugh or weep, depending. As a side note, if her question wasn't about Iraq, but grounded right here in the USA, about where is the state of Idaho compared to Ohio or Utah--Iowa gets a bye this year because I'm including those smart enough to vote upon reflection--her poorly construed answer might just as easily pertain.