Sometimes the Funny is There. Sometimes it’s Not.

I have been trying for days now to come up with some funny way to blame Say Uncle for the fatalities in the Civil War.  All the pieces are there.  He reports that PETA is blaming hunters for school shootings.  He is a gun nut.  If gun nuts can be blamed for everything other gun nuts do… well, then, why can’t we blame Say Uncle for the Civil War?

See, all the elements of funny are there, but just not congealing in some way that satisfies me, so I’ve not bothered to make the joke, even though it nags at me that the joke is sitting there ready to be made.

Which is why I must congratulate Roger Abramson on the funniest thing I’ve read in some time.

Here’s what you need to appreciate Abramson’s genius.

First, Brittney makes this post.  Then Abramson makes this post.  Then Brittney makes this post.  And apparently almost everyone thinks that Abramson is seriously calling Brittney a racist.

There’s a point to be made here about how powerful humor is, but I’ll let you reach it yourselves.

Roger, I bow humbly before you. 

Sometimes, I Wish I Spoke Spanish

Last night we went to this fabulous Spanish restaurant and I ate something I’d never had before that has a name I can’t even begin to figure out how to spell even enough to look it up on the internet, but my god, it was fabulous–rice, peas, meat, some sauce–and I had this salad with tomatoes so good that it made every other tomato I’ve had in my life suddenly better in retrospect.

And as we left, the guy who took our money at the garage spoke English until the driver spoke Spanish to him and then he smiled sheepishly in that way men do when they suspect you’ve overheard them talking about you when they thought you wouldn’t know.

As I was laying in the tub, trying to coax my ankle into bending again–hot, cold, wiggle, wiggle, hot, cold, wiggle, wiggle–I thought about how much I appreciate that my parents traveled with us when we were growing up.  We learned by experience that the whole nation was much larger and much different than the small towns we were growing up in, and that our experience was not the only kind of experience one could have in this country, that on down the road there’s always something new to try–new foods, new smells, new people–and it’s all open to you if you’re willing to search it out.

I sometimes think of how people complain about how homogenized our culture is, how no matter where you go, there’s a McDonald’s and a Tiger Mart and a Hilton and a Walmart; how all the songs on all the radio stations are all the same.  And I have to tell you, I wonder if they ever actually get out and about in the places they accuse of being all the same, because these places all seem amazingly different to me.

Which makes me wonder what we mean when we talk about preserving “American” culture.  We talk about losing it like we’d be losing something distinct and uniform, when really, what is distinct about us is how many different experiences can be encompassed by the idea of the “American Experience.”

I mean, yes, things are changing and it’s a different nation than the one you grew up in, but all you had to do was drive a hundred miles from where you lived and it was a different nation even then.

Is our culture really threatened or is it just your understanding of our culture, which was already too small to begin with?