Let me warn you now: McSweeney’s is a magazine for intellectuals. Its humour section (from which the pieces in this book are pulled) is really no different. Eggers himself says, in the comically overblown (get it?) introduction, that the goal is to be “funny without being humorous.” If the idea of Ezra Pound writing an angry letter about his screenplay adaptation doesn’t strike you as funny, don’t read this book. If the idea of Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn doing audio commentary for the DVD version of Fellowship of the Rings and focusing largely upon the plight of the downtrodden Orcish race and the economic and cultural imperialism of the men and elves doesn’t strike you as funny, don’t read this book. If the idea of teenage horror movies as experienced on a Indian reservation (they build their burial ground on an ancient Indian burial ground) doesn’t strike you as funny, don’t read this book. Sometimes, it’s hit and miss. Sometimes, the humor is base. For instance, what notable movie titles would look like as pornos (All Quiet on the Western Front Except for the Sound of People Having Sex on the Western Front), and an article entitled “Circumstances Under Which I Would Have Sex With my Fellow Jurors.”
JUROR #11. We’re on a hunting trip together and even though I have no earthly interest at all in the following things: guns, woods, animals, you, I agree to go because I’m proving to a former lover that I don’t always reject things without trying them. On the third day, after doing what I can to ignore and deflect your ever-bolder sexual advances, I awaken to find you standing naked over me, deer rifle in hand, telling me there’s an easy way and there’s a hard way that this can go. And you voted to acquit! As is my custom in just about every situation that arises, I opt for the easy way. You’re nervous and clumsy and I’d laugh if not for the presence of firearms. When it’s finally over, we have trouble making conversation. I welcome the bear attack.
I found (much of) it hilarious, sometimes in a laugh-out-loud sort of way, but more often, I’m afraid, in a “it’s funny, but only because most people wouldn’t get it” sort of way. The esotery runs rampant. Truly, this is humour for the elitist who just doesn’t feel special enough.