Thursday, February 22, 2007

I think the most interesting part of delving into Humor Me - an anthology of humor by writers of color was assimilating the title of the anthology, and therefore my expectations of the text, with the actual writings presented. My preconceived notions of humor led me to anticipate a lightly entertaining and perhaps slightly satirical collection of stories spanning the ethnographic chart; however, the stories were actually quite miserably depressing sometimes, to the level where they rose up and became humorous once again.

For example, in the story “Assimilation,” an American Indian woman desires nothing but to sleep with an Indian man - any Indian man. She feels incomplete without achieving this task, which is disturbing on many levels: Does she really need a man to complete her? Is it necessary to sleep with someone of your own race to be whole? Does race really matter all that much? Still, while this internal dilemma forces a sort of grievance for humanity, there is a bold humor in the way Mary Lynn performs her “seduction,” and in the banal conversation she and her husband share afterwards. There is a sort of humor found only in misery.

The most disturbing story seemed to me to be “Godoy Lives,” the tale of an illegal immigrant assimilating himself into the United States. While I don’t disapprove of his tactics of entering America (I think if we had more lax immigration laws we wouldn’t have to worry about such circumstances) I find the way he effortlessly forgets his home and family and renews himself quite disconcerting. Is it really that simple to forget everything that means home and love? The story makes it seem as if it is, and I’m afraid it may be correct. Yet there is a sort of gloomy amusement found in this forgetfulness - again, a glimpse at the dark humor that penetrates throughout this anthology.

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