'Created in Darkness' shines with humor

By Celeste Meiffren
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 16, 2004

"Bar Joke #1: A man walks into a bar. He has a few drinks and chats with the bartender. Later that night, he goes home alone and reflects on the poor decisions he's made in his life."

If you laughed, guffawed or chuckled at this joke, this book is for you. If you scoffed, mocked or rolled your eyes, you're unpatriotic and no one loves you, especially not your country.

Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans

9 out of 10

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Editor: Dave Eggers
Various Authors 

This joke is straight from page 29 of the new book, "Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans." It is a collection of comedic articles gleaned from the literary journal McSweeney's Quarterly Concern and its online sister publication, mcsweeneys.net. There are some articles and stories that are coherent enough to derive some meaningful conclusions about the sad bastard state of America and American politics. Unfortunately for intellectuals, the best articles are random ramblings, sex jokes, fart jokes and bathroom humor or stories written by (gasp!) Canadians.

This book is not a leftist conspiracy book or a conservative attack on mainstream values. It's a group of comedians with, it would appear, nothing better to do. They have no intrusive political agenda, which is nice. No one likes to be force-fed politics when all they want is a good, thoughtless, American laugh.

The real gems in this book are articles such as, "Comments Written on Evaluations of My Speech on Needle-Exchange Programs," "On the Implausibility of the Death Star's Trash Compactor," "As a Porn Movie Titler, I May Lack Promise," "Pirate Riddles for Sophisticates," "Circumstances Under Which I Would Have Sex with Some of My Fellow Jurors," and, well, you get the idea.

Each article ranges from half a page to four pages, which makes for a quick and easy read. The material is light and doesn't require too much thinking. It does, however, require a refined sense of humor.

Not every single article is laugh out loud funny, but each is chock full of irony, wit and just enough anti-Canadian sentiment to make it patriotic. Except for the ones written by Canadians. Their articles are weak, just like their motherland.

"Farmer's Daughter Joke #13: A man is driving down a country road at night when his car gets a flat tire. He stops by a local farmhouse and asks the owner if he can stay there for the night. 'Sure,' says the farmer. 'As long as you don't touch my three beautiful daughters.' The man did as he was told because, frankly, he didn't find the girls nearly as attractive as their father seemed to."

If you consider yourself a patriotic country-hugger in need of a fix of humor to rid your life of mediocrity and a general malaise, pick up "Created in Darkness." It will not only make you look smart for reading a book, but it might also give you some interesting jokes or anecdotes to tell when you're drunk and trying to impress that special someone. Because isn't that what being American is all about?