Wednesday, March 17, 2010

“This is not a joke cookbook”

While reading the second half of Amy Sedaris’ I Like You, I started to think about the topic of form. Like we discussed on Tuesday this book seemed to have a unique approach to humor. Not only is the humor model intricate and hard to define, but so is the form and structure of Sedaris’ writing. To me, I Like You seemed like a long magazine. With her vivid articles of advice on beauty, food, and parties this book reminded me a lot of Cosmo or any other magazines directed towards women.

Just like in Cosmo, Sedaris demonstrates embarrassing, crude stories that the modern magazine is trying to move towards. Again like some of the males mentioned in class, they seemed a little on the outside, and sometimes awkward. The structure follows that of Cosmo because Sedaris mentions many beauty tips and recipes. Not only does the content seem to be similar, but the recipes both seem to be located towards the end of each.

The major thing that separates Sedaris from Cosmo (or any other magazine) is that Sedaris aims towards the real and places herself as the major target. Since she writes all of these tips and recipes, she places herself in the spotlight, demonstrating that she has had the experience that she is mentioning. Her honest tone allows for the recipes to speak for themselves, and her pictures demonstrate her openness, by presenting an un-edited picture for her viewers to see. Her bold attitude demonstrates a fearless attitude, one that makes me question why our society feels the need to hide and edit images within our culture.

As I flip through her book, pictures overwhelm the pages. By doing this I feel that Sedaris is putting everything on display, the good and the bad, no matter what. Magazines may have crude articles about real life situations, but the models and ads between the pages still represent this picture of perfection, this fake vision of reality.

To me Sedaris is presenting an honest, unmasked, vision of reality. Her novel may be presented in a humorous tone, but I feel that her outrageousness is routed in truth and in the mere fact that as humans we cover what we think is ‘ugly’ because of society, when some of those things are what make us human. (*This overall concept reminded me of a clip I found last semester on beauty and how the models in most of the ads around us are computer generated here is the link if anyone is interested: )

Another aspect of Sedaris’ writing that I enjoyed was her honest tone. Her title spells it straight out, I like you. By trying to make someone laugh, you are signaling to the listener, I like you. Maybe what Sedaris is trying to get at here, is that you don’t need to add and complicate what is. The YouTube clip that Dr. Ellis showed us in class on Tuesday keeps repeating in my head, and I think Sedaris explains herself perfectly “I try to make things look like they should and you just try to make it look like it does”.

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