How to Die Laughing

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Even though I was completely confused by what was going on in the first chapter with the man, I like J.  When he started to choke and wonder if he was going to die (sidenote: I always thought choking would be a very unfortunate way to go.  I imagine the spirits of the people who've died from choking go around for eternity with rather sheepish expressions), I was genuinely upset.  Though his would-be last thoughts did make me laugh:

"Surely he isn't choking.  It won't go down.  He's going to die on a junket?  This is some far-out shit, this is a fucking ironic way to go.  Is he using ironic correctly?  The copy editors are going to kill him.  They are really cracking down on the misuse of the word ironic, it's like this global cabal of comma checkers and run-on sentences and fragments" (76).

Sorry, J., but as I made clear in my comments on Karyssa's blog, I tend to overthink irony, and will be no help in determining the truth-value of your last thoughts. 

Another reason I chose this section to quote, besides the fact that J. shares my fogginess on the use of the term ironic, is that it really captures the tone of the novel so far (at least when we're seeing things from J.'s perspective).  There's the disbelieving, but still distant tinge to J.'s thoughts, "He's going to die on a junket?"  Even when J. was being driven on a backroad and was starting to suspect that the driver could be taking him to the woods to kill him, J.'s thoughts remained wry.  He refers to the driver as "Caleb" (21), and states that the backwoods hillbillies who kill him and eat him, will probably let him boil while they watch tv, "entire public access shows devoted to dark meat recipes" (22).

You've got to love a man who can make a joke when he's dying.  Though, I'm sure the fact that J.'s maybe-last thoughts made me laugh would not be a huge comfort to him.



Cody Naylor said:

Josie, I am glad someone else FINALLY shares in my confusion over the word "ironic". I always tend to think that something is ironic only to have someone else inform me that it isn't. Like when Dr. Jerz stood in front of the classroom and said that "Ironic" by Alanis Morisette contains no real examples of irony, my world came crashing down around me! Seriously... rain on your wedding day? a black fly in your chardonay? the good advice that you just didn't take?... If those things aren't ironic then WHAT ARE THEY?! Anyway... just thought I'd share that with you.

Kayla Lesko said:

It didn't really surprise me that J. would make a joke while he's choking because he just seems to have that kind of personality.

see, I think I disagree, I don't think I like J. I'm not 100% as to why, but I don't get a good vibe from him. Lol, getting any vibe from a character in a book is pretty...idk anyway, lol, I think he seems to me to be more like, come on lets do this so I can leave. And witht he whole choking thing, I'll admit this to you but don't tell anyone, I almost choked on a potatoe once, it was extremely painful, but I never once thought I would DIE. I thought OW! And CRAP ITS A POTATOE NOT ICE, ITS NOT GUNA MELT. But our friend J. here seems a little over dramatic. He's a baby. Idk, I just don't like him. But like I said I'm still not 100% sure why haha. But you do make some good points.

Cody: Having a bug in your drink or bad weather on a day you hope will be perfect is just disappointing.

The specific, literary definition of "dramatic irony" means that the audience/reader knows more than the hero.

The guy who's afraid to fly uses a different kind of irony -- sarcasm -- when he says "isn't this nice."

Homer Simpson falling from a great hight onto the hard roof of a marshmallow factory, and then being run over by a mattress truck, is ironic -- since in the logic of the cartoon world a marshmallow or a mattress serves a particular function for a falling character; and in this particular scenario, Homer is injured by something the audience associates with saving a falling cartoon character. I'd say that's ironic.

Josie Rush said:

Cody- We can make a club or something. lol. Irony is one of those things that I think I know, but I'm sure I've misused on more than one occassion. And, as you will see if you follow my link in this entry to Karyssa's blog, I also was thinking there was some irony in Alanis Morisette's song. So, yes, I'm right there with you.
Kayla- Agreed. It's not that surprising. He was fairly wry throughout the book, and the fact he would make unimpressed jokes with his possible last breaths, well, it's not shocking.
Shellie- I wonder if J.'s going to be a character we get a kick out of, but don't necessarily like that much. Though part of the reason we're getting the "come on, let's do this so I can leave" vibe from him is that we haven't really seen much of his personality yet. So we don't know what drives him. Maybe even once we know what drives him we won't like him, but at least we'll understand him a little more. Your potato story made me laugh, btw.

Josie Rush said:

Dr. Jerz, at first when I was looking at your comment, I saw "Homer" and thought we were going to get a very in depth, complicated definition of tragedy. And then I saw "the Simpsons" and actually approached the topic with hope of understanding it. Thanks- I'm grasping the concept a little better now; I think it's just one of those things I've been looking at sideways for so long, that it will take a while to correct.

D'oh! I'm glad to know it helped.

Dave said:

In 9th or possibly 8th grade as an exercise in understanding irony better we had to go through Alanis Morrissette's song and re-write things so that they were truly ironic. For example, rain on your wedding day would be ironic rather than dissappointing if before hand, when picking the date, you did research to determine the day when rain would be least likely...or possibly moved the wedding to Arizona specifically to avoid rain. This just adds the element of reversal to it.

Cody Naylo said:

Dr. Jerz- Thanks for the example... it did help... but I still feel like I need someone to hold my hand and walk me through life explaining all the ironies that occur to me haha.
Josie- I enjoy your club idea... very much.
Dave- Good point... i guess it would depend on the situation.

Josie and Cody: It's hard to define, so I'm glad Dr. Jerz provided a good example for us.

Shellie: I don't think J. is overly dramatic, but I certainly understand not appreciating his lack of work ethic. I tend to prefer characters that are the go get 'em type, typically women because I'm a girl and like to see strong female characters. Example: Lois Lane, and she's a reporter! That is the image I see when I think of journalist, not a dirty guy that doesn't seem to care about his job. (And I don't even remember if there's been any evidence that he's dirty - he just seems gross to me).

Dave: I did that in my head while I wrote the blog entry Josie linked to in this blog. It was actually kind of fun.

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