It’s a mixture of gratifying and annoying when you read an article on The Onion which overlaps with something you’ve already done. They’ve got a joke review by recently deceased film buff Roger Ebert reviewing human existence. I did the same thing a couple of years ago for Woroni, as part of my You Can’t Review That column. I reviewed Life as though it were a novel and unfortunately it’s not available online any more but here was my opener:
The novel opens with a prologue called “Conception” wherein two inebriated characters have desultory sex following a blackout. Then we jump forward to a lurid set-piece involving blood, screaming and pain in which the main character, You, enters the world in one of the most grotesque literary introductions to a character since Snowden lay dying in the back.
The Onion’s effort was a bit shorter than mine which followed the concept through. Here’s their best bit:
“While not without its flaws, life, from birth to death, is a masterwork, and an uplifting journey that both touches the heart and challenges the mind,” said Ebert, adding that while the totality of all humankind is sometimes “a mess in places,” it strives to be a magnum opus and, according to Ebert, largely succeeds at this goal. “At times brutally sad, yet surprisingly funny, and always completely honest, I wholeheartedly recommend existence.
Here are some more snippets of my effort, which was wordier and pseudo-intellectual:
This was a bit long. 75 chapters is sort of a bit nineteenth century, somewhat Dickensian — and in fact Life is a bit Dickensian, with its eccentric minor characters, moral weightiness and throngs of poor people.
I think this was my best line:
Some have called Life a sub-Joycean bildungsroman and it’s true that there wasn’t as much sex as one might hope for and there are long passages that simply devolve into maudlin self-reflection from the neurotic protagonist. But there are plenty of laughs all the way through and You, although flawed, is lovable.
I was harsher in my verdict than Ebert:
Better than non-existence, three stars.
Meanwhile, to continue the theme I notice over at Reason Stick and being promulgated by I Fucking Love Science, there’s this hilarious Venn diagram of irrational nonsense. What am I producing nowadays for Woroni? Nothing less than a series of flowcharts and diagrams mocking the illogic of certain religious beliefs.