Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday Roundup

Favorites and duds from Wednesday's commenting.

Favorites, in no particular order:

Burner David Hume showed up again today with this excellent wordplay joke in the Moving Islanders post. Just like the real David Hume, this guy uses little touches to dress up his punchline in an added layer of fun personality. Homeboy should stick around for a while.

Here's a fast-moving, twisting-and-turning dialogue joke from Raysism in the Caron Butler Dance Party post. This is great. I really could go on and on about this joke. And so I will. One of my absolute favorite things about written jokes is finding those rare circumstances when a written joke has actual by-God timing. It's so much harder to pull off than one might initially think. Most of what goes into a spoken joke or a skit or slapstick is timing, the actual rhythm and pace of the delivery. With written jokes, structure and eloquence take on a more important role because there are fewer tools at the joke-maker's disposal to ensure the joke is read at any specific tempo. We all tend to read things first in our own voice and at a pace that is more or less determined by the speed of our comprehension, so assuming tempo will play any role in the success of your written joke is a dicey proposition, and many jokes fail because the author assumes the reader will hear the joke in their mind the way the author heard it in his own. What does Raysism do here that makes this a darting back-and-forth, and why is that important? Well, I suppose the use of simple designations (Guest 1, Guest 2) helps. Also, and rather obviously, there's no fancy language in there, not even a three-syllable word before the final sentence. And finally, Raysism's main characters here aren't weighed down with oppositional or even specific personalities, making it easy and inconsequential to read them both in the same voice. And it's all so important to the joke because, again, by allowing the reader to gather the words and their literal meaning at roughly the minimum amount of time needed to comprehend the punchline, Raysism allows the reader to experience the briefest of cognitive delays. In other words, we can't predict the punchline before we read the punchline, and in most jokes that surprise is hugely important to drawing a laugh. And it's not just the punchline, it's every twist along the way: the word "Butler" referring to someone other than Caron Butler, then circling back and defying our initial impression at the end. Remember the whole tense-expectation-converted-into-nothing thing? Here's a great example of how timing can play a huge role in facilitating that action. Great joke.

Along those same lines, here's another hysterical wordplay gag in the same post, this time from Eddie Murray Sparkles. I laughed aloud at this joke. It relies upon a more straightforward delivery, but benefits from the exact same delay. This time, it's understood that the reader will need a moment to assemble all the pieces of this joke and then locate the reference within the post, and that creates both the tension and the surprise. Of course, that mechanic is a signature move of Eddie Murray Sparkles.

More than one commenter took this angle in the Bobby Valentine post, but I happened to think this effort, from The Amazing Sneijderman, was the best. What can I say? A goofy cartoon reference punches up this joke. The visualization of the bus is half the fun. In other words, there's more to this joke than David Ortiz is fat. There's also the preposterousness of Inspector Gadget's bus, and offering a secondary device in a joke is an excellent way to turn it from clever or mean or smart to genuinely funny.

Total Fucking Duds

This is such an incredibly stupid thing to say, from asswipe Steven Berger in the LeBron James Technical post. It's the kind of brain-dead hostility that, once upon a time, was the exclusive domain of pink commenters, the kinds of pink commenters who fucking stayed pink. And the fact that it started a conversation is just hilarious, a perfect demonstration of the design of Kinja. Would it matter to anyone if that comment had been made by, say, a famous basketball player? Would that somehow elevate the comment or conversation to something worthy of the attention of intelligent people? No fucking way.

Here's something astonishingly lazy and lame-brained from some dummy called Apoc, also in the LeBron James Technical post. Thanks for filling us in, you fucking dipshit. What the hell made this a sentence worth even thinking about, let alone typing into a comment field?

This is just funny, from some wayward soul called amnigo in the Lowered Rims post.

What follows is a list meant to be representative of the kind of "conversation" that is now visible to anyone who visits Deadspin. It's important to note that none of this would have been visible to 90% of Deadspin's visitors before Kinja:
st_Jef said this.
HateJoe said this.
Joseph Finn said this.
DonDrapersLiver said this.
peeltopoop said this.
These people are fucking idiots, and I'm not saying that because I disagree with what they say. I'm saying it because they are stupid. Stupid people. And if this kind of commentary doesn't depress the shit out of you, doesn't make you grind your teeth and shake your head and yearn for the pre-Kinja days, you're obviously beyond help. These are not conversations worth having. These are the kinds of people who should be shamed and embarrassed by giant dramatic eye-rolls whenever they say shit like this aloud around other humans.

ProFootballComment is either a ringer for a disgruntled regular (in which case, BOOOOOOOOOO), or a hopelessly devolved neanderthal. Either way, Jesus, what a fucking dismal, comment. Yeesh.

So, in the coming days, I'll be scaling back the duds (again). Sometimes it's fun to say mean things about people, and sometimes it's useful to make a point, but once I've made all the relevant points and used up my thesaurus of hyphenated insults, the duds really turn into a drag. I'm sure they become as painful to read as they are to compile and write. Thing is, right now, the duds far outweigh the great jokes, and there's such a wonderful, awful variety. It's more difficult than you might think to leave some of this shit alone.

Hey, how about a good old-fashioned DUAN? Make it happen, turkeys.


  1. Gotta tell ya, Shitehawk, I haven't felt like making too many jokes over at DS in a while, but you're pulling me back in.

  2. That's great news. The place could use your jokes, my man.