In addition to the many things I am a sucker for (mad relatives, overweight dogs dressed up as people, kettle corn), I am helpless in the face of superlatives. Also, titles with subtitles. Also, quests. Also, when Eva recommends things.
Ergo, it was ordained in the stars that I would read this thing, and I AM ENDEARED TO THE NINES!!!
Ok, so I don’t even really know how to explain this to you. Joel Derfner took up knitting because it was SO GAY and also because his boyfriend just broke up with him and he needed something to do with his hands besides google him obsessively, and so he’s telling you about how he took up knitting because this is his Great Gay Adventure, remember, but then somehow it ends up being about his relationship with his mom, who died of the Galloping Diabetes.
And then this one time he became a cheerleader despite never having cheer-led anything in the past AND being a full-fledged grown-up, and DUDEWHODOESTHESETHINGS!! And ha ha, cheerleading, and wheeeeee, hilarious self-deprication, and suddenly we’re in the realm of mental illness and while it’s still funny as hell, it’s also sharp and dark and helpless.
And then one time he went to Camp Camp which is a super-gay summer camp, but for adults, and it’s all blase and witty and failed panty-raids and SUPER GAY SUMMER CAMP FOR ADULTS, and then suddenly it becomes this piece about exclusion and acceptance and trust that’s just so damned beautiful I could die.
And the whole thing is like this! (Cautionary Whale, the whole thing is also full of boys kissing.) It’s SO amusing and SO clever and even while it’s tickling your funny bones, it’s ripping your heart out and making you ask tough questions.
And there’s this bit in The Woman in White where Marian Halcombe (excellent Marian!) scoffs at the idea that all fat people are funny, as though being fat made you funny or being funny made you fat, but I have to ask: does being gay make you HILAROUS!?!?! I know, I’m totally basing this solely on Joel Derfner and David Sedaris and, like, three other people that I can’t think of right now. But this leads me to my next question:
Is it totally offensive of me to say that? Would it still be totally offensive if Derfner said that? Because he keeps saying super-stereotypical things like ‘If there had been a shred of doubt in anybody’s mind that I was gay, my membership in the Charleston Young Musicians’ Society should have removed it’ and I get that he’s hyperbolizing for entertainment’s sake, and I have a weakness for hyperboles (add to list above) so I think he’s a riot, but when lady-memoirists say similar stereotypical things like Blah blah blah I’m such a bitch I love shoes I treat my husband like dirt (I’m looking at you, Doreen Orion), it makes me want to spit rocks, because while I am also a lady, I do not do these lady-things and would hate for anyone to think that I did.
SO! Eight caterpillars, and also, what think you? Does it offend you when other people of your gender/race/sexual orientation/handedness speak for you?