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  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Colin-M at 20:33 on 14 December 2004
    We could merge this with the sick jokes thread.

    Q: What's the difference between a lorry load of sand and a lorry load of babies?

    Q: What's the difference between a nun and a hamster?

    Q: How do you get four elephants in a mini?

    Two cannibals eating a clown. One says, "does this taste funny to you?"


    All sick images (if you know the punchlines) sick sick sick, but people in the right company laugh; for various reasons. Sometimes it's the guile of the comic coming out with it in the first place, othertimes the total abstract lunacy of it, and other times because it's someone else walking into a tree and not us. If Mark Hannon giggled at the original idea of a giant poodle with a pitch fork sticking out of it, I don't think it makes him a monster, just a guy with a strange sense of humour.

    Colin M
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Colin-M at 20:35 on 14 December 2004
    As for the other thread within this thread. Does anyone out there believe that Pamela Anderson really wrote "Star"?

    Colin M
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Silverelli at 21:45 on 14 December 2004
    As for the other thread within this thread. Does anyone out there believe that Pamela Anderson really wrote "Star"?

    Colin M

    Hell no.

    I read the first couple of pages and skimmed a few in the middle of the book,even though it is piss poor writing, I still don't think she typed or wrote any words onto a piece of paper.
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Nell at 08:37 on 15 December 2004
    Colin, you've made an insightful and valid point, yet in some way comics and people who make us laugh seem exempt from the usual criteria by which we judge good taste, policical correctness etc. I remember when Bernard Manning and others were condemned for their non-PC humour, so I've been amazed at the new wave of stand-up comics and the material they write and perform. Perhaps the audience laughs out of nervous relief, perhaps it's genuinely funny, but I find much of it scary. It seems too that only comics from an ethnic minority can get away with jokes about that minority; either way it seems that comedy has become polarised with no middle ground, although Eddie Izzard is brilliant, insightful, slightly surreal and never offensive. Comedy IMO must touch a basic truth no matter how unacceptable in order to be funny. Mark Haddon's comment could never be called a joke (IMO), it was a statement, and whatever else I think about him he's an author, words are his stock-in-trade and his choice of 'hilarious' to describe that image shows a lack of sensitivity at the very least.
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Davy Skyflyer at 11:06 on 15 December 2004
    The annoying thing is, the book sets itself up with this nasty incident, and the neighbour is horrified at her dog being killed. There is nothing funny about it (or the entire book to be honest - God I hated it) so for Haddon to say its "hilarious" is just bollocks, frankly, and has nothin to do with sick jokes, more the fact he is obviously a bit of a dick.

    Oh, and by the way, thanks Ads - its always a pleasure to hear you hearing me! "Under the fork dog" - now that is funny!

    I think the image conjured by a dark joke is different to just finding an image of something being tortured "hilarious", but could be barking up the wrong fork.

    He probably just wants to come across as all dark and writer-ey though, and is, in all probability, currently lying in bed smellin his wads of cash.

    And why exactly is Robbie Williams "not talented"? Coz you happen not to like him? I don't like him, but the geezer cannot be accused of having no talent.

    But let's not start that one again...

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by scoops at 11:19 on 15 December 2004
    But he wasn't saying the premise was hilarious in the book, was he? He was saying that the situation came to him and struck him as being very funny and out of that came the book. Surely we all have dark thoughts that would not in the normal scheme of things be funny, but within the context of that moment, are utterly killing as per Colin's note about sick jokes? shyama
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Skippoo at 11:28 on 15 December 2004
    Sorry, Nell, missed your comment (trying to skim through 5 pages of comments whilst at work). But does anyone really think Haddon is the type of bloke that goes around torturing poor defenseless animals or anything? I doubt it. Though the image may be slightly absurd, funny, whatever, it is still used as a sympathetic device.

    I agree, you can't say RW has no[i/] talent. He has written a few good pop tracks. And the way he handles the whole fame thing is kind of interesting, I think. It's like half of him buys into it and desperately wants to be 'adored' and the other half knows it's a load of bullsh*t and takes the p*ss out of it.

    And sorry if this has all already been said by other people!



    And sorry about strange italics situation. I'm going to crawl under my desk and go to sleep.....
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Davy Skyflyer at 11:57 on 15 December 2004
    We have dark thoughts, yeah, but do we all find them hilarious? A joke is structured in a way that it is designed to get a laugh, so even a sick joke has an undertone of irony or fantasy that removes it from reality, yet we can laugh guiltily coz we "get it". What is there to get about a dog skewered to the lawn? The fact the kid gets the blame, or that he undertakes the murder investigation, yeah maybe that's funny, and his general incompatibility with the world around him, that is the crux of the book's humour. Not the fact that the bleedin dog gets kebabed.

    And no, I'm sure Haddon doesn't go around killing defenceless animals with forks, so why even allude to that being hilarious? It's not. It's like me sayin, I wrote this bit about a soldier getting his head blown up by a shell, its hilarious. The context of my story may be humerous, and that may be part of a joke even, but the fact someone is maimed is not hilarious. I think he is way off the mark sayin shit like that, but then I generally prefer dog's company to human's, except they never have enough money to get the next round in. That's coz they have no pockets, of course. But maybe I'm just sensitive. If it was a five year old child pinned to the lawn with the old pitch fork, and he said it, I'd think he was being a nob-end, or he was in fact psychotic. I have similar feelings about this curious incident.

    And Cath, I love it when you go all italic like...

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by shellgrip at 12:27 on 15 December 2004
    Nell, a very valid point about comedy not having to be offensive, and Eddie Izzard is a great example. I have a friend, and I use that word under advisement, who is NOT a racist (in the same way that BNP members are NOT racists). He frequently tells jokes of a racist nature which could be considered funny and which will raise a laugh amongst an audience. However, I usually find them distasteful and unnecessary and when I've brought him up on this (and his views in general) I'm happily able to say that I've never told a joke that could be considered racist. In my view it's weak humour and if people find such jokes funny then it must mean they're accepting a view or opinion that I'd find distasteful.


  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by shellgrip at 12:39 on 15 December 2004
    Davey, at the risk of going off on a lovely sharp tangent the difference between an animal being killed/tortured and a human being treated in a similar fashion is an interesting discussion in itself.

    My favourite example of this is seen in 'Independence Day', the movie starring Will Smith. At one point when New York (?) is being thoroughly and systematically destroyed and literally tens of thousands of people are being killed, the film focusses on one labrador and the music swells with relief as he leaps to safety.

    Christ, now I've started that, I want to go onto why the survivors of horrific events always end up smiling, even though most of their friends and half the population are dead (Day after Tomorrow springs to mind).

    I need a pint and a pointing finger...

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Nell at 13:25 on 15 December 2004
    Dav, you've summed up the situation and my view perfectly and saved my typing fingers, which have been unusually busy on the forums this morning.

    Jon, I suppose that distasteful and offensive as many jokes are, with human nature being what it is the Joke Police would have their work cut out to curtail even the worst ones. I've heard that the first 9/11 jokes appeared on the Internet only hours after the event. Was it Edward Lear who said: I wish I loved the human race...?

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Anj at 13:36 on 15 December 2004
    I read The Curious Incident, and personally wasn't impressed - I thought it started well, but I got really bored and ended up skipping the reams of facts I assume were there to illustrate how an Autistic/Aspergers child's mind works. Apart from that I thought the plot was really weak, and didn't come to any satisfactory conclusion.

    One thing that troubled me throughout was the use of an Autistic/Aspergers hero - on the one hand, great, Autistic/Aspergers people are just people, human, and its good to see the syndrome being given a profile in a non-worthy way; on the other hand, I felt perhaps the syndrome was just being used as a manipulative plot device, because it's very easy to sympathise with someone so innocent and so out-of-step, and also perhaps because it's bound to attract interest in the book, drum up publicity.

    I came away undecided.

    Having read the links posted earlier I couldn't access the one containing the forked dog. However, I accessed the next and was a bit troubled by what I read, because it seemed to suggest that A/A had indeed been used simply as a plot device.

    As Elspeth says, MH says he thought it would be very funny to relate the death of the dog in a really neutral voice, and it was only once he had the voice he assigned it to an Autistic/Aspergers narrator - so he only used A/A because it appealed to his sense of humour.

    I was also troubled by his saying "the book had one very bad review from a young man with Asperger's who thought the book was bad, mainly because Christopher wasn't like him or like any other people he knew with Asperger's. But the review missed the point, I think." ie he didn't feel any responsibility to portray the syndrome in a way that was recognisable to those with A/A, only in the way that would furnish his story. If that portrayal happened to coincide with the experience of some who have the syndrome, great. I also found it a bit insulting to the young man with A to be so dismissive of his opinion.

    (As it happens, my sister has a son with A/A, and I have to say Christopher bears no relation to my nephew.)

    He also says he wrote it "in the hope that there would people out there who shared my interests and obsessions" - which suggests those with A/A are to him a pet study, an object of curiosity, heading towards a freak show.

    I'm not saying syndromes such as A/A cannot be used in fiction, or that books with narrators with such syndromes should be earnest affairs, just that I feel there should be a sense of responsibility about how and why you use them. If MH's portrayal allowed readers to humanise people with A/A, that appears to have been a byproduct of him finding a natty plot device, which to me is exploiting other's difficulties to progress your novel and your career.

    Perhaps some will say "what does it matter so long as the profile of the syndrome was raised?" Yup, good things can come from bad intentions. But I'm still uncomfortable with what appears to lay behind his use of it - especially when, bearing in mind the weakness of the plot, the enormous success of the novel turns entirely on his use of A/A.
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by scoops at 14:36 on 15 December 2004
    Aren't we in danger here of falling into the trap explored earlier in this thread about the author as a celebrity? Does it really matter to the reader, why or how Haddon came up with the idea? Some of us find it funny, some of us not; he got close to some truths about Aspergers, but certainly not all; he found an image funny that some people here consider sensitive etc etc... Surely all that matters is the text and if we should be deconstructing anything, it's the story rather than the author's words after the fact? And I'm with you on this one, Anj: I found the novel easy to put down and forget, but I saw that as a measure of my patience and understanding of the boy's reality...:-( Shyama
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Al T at 14:41 on 15 December 2004
    Andrea, you raise some very interesting points. I've never met anyone with Asperger's so have no point of comparison for Christopher. What I liked about the book was not the plot, but the depiction of a singular boy who, through no fault of his own, is so out of step with the people around him. When he was on his way to London, I was so worried that something awful would happen to him on the Underground, and so pleased when he survived. Also, I found the emotional voice of the father very convincing.

    Whatever, Haddon's motives in writing, he's created a book that I admire.

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Davy Skyflyer at 14:52 on 15 December 2004
    All hail Anj - Iím glad you had the bollocks to say it, if youíll pardon the expression!! All true, but if nothing else it shows in the fact you canít sympathise with Christopher. Empathising would be missing the point, okay I take that, you accept his view of the world is the crux of the plot. But like you say, what plot? I ended up just getting annoyed and feelin ill, picking up my John Simpson book and reading about some real stories! The fact a kid with Asbergerís slated it and its relation to his condition or anyone he knew with his condition makes it even worse. Now it smacks of cynicism too, which normally Iím right up for, but not about something like mental health.

    Adele and Shyma - I can see where you're comin from definitely, just didn't work for me!

    Then I'm sure MH really gives a shit what I think as he saunters down the bank from his agent's place while dreamin up his next paid and published guaranteed best seller...

  • This 100 message thread spans 7 pages:  < <   1   2   3   4   5  6  7  > >