In thinking about Bryson I had a hard time first trying to come up with what type of mode he could fit into. I knew it was not superiority, or relieve.
The model that I think works the best for him is incongruity, like we talked about in class. The life and interesting spin to daily activities that we find SOOOOOOOO boring is amazing. The fact that he is an American born guy living in Britain just makes it more interesting. There is a kind of tourist-like way about him that kept me going throughout the whole book. I felt that because he lived in the UK for so long he wanted to be identified as a Brit, but this couldn’t happen because he is American and will always be seen in this way. The unusual situation for the humor makes me convinced he is using the incongruity model.
The other thing that struck me as so interesting in the way he writes is how you can also argue the release model. I am doing Amy for my paper so I have been chilling with Freud’s essay a lot this week. You just can’t help but laugh at what he is doing. He is using his own situation to get humor out of a situation that one would not necessarily find funny (just some random guy trying to jump cultures). But it is interesting, and I would find myself laughing out loud at certain points spontaneously. I’m not sure if that’s how he intended to write it.
His relation to Amy is also brought on by the way the book is done. The chapter titles are all interesting, and make you want to read; they get you thinking “What is he going for here?” I felt the same way when I read the table of contents in Amy’s book. His is not as lavishly decorated as hers is and it looks like a normal book, but the same concept of LOL ing is there. But he also is going for the bizarre and out there kind of writing that gets you laughing.
My favorite part is when he talks about the Pentagon. I think it’s because everyone is worried pour country is trying to commit emotional suicide because no one knows how things will end up. His title in that chapter “ What Did We Do Wrong” got my attention right away. He lines up perfectly with Sedaris at this point. I was eight in 1995 and I never heard my mom say anything about the Pentagon like she did when Oklahoma City happened in 1996. Just the absurdity of that happening is what makes it funny. That is what I think he is great at. The subtleness of his jokes is what separates him and Amy.
However, it is the writing that counts, and being a writer I am sure he is familiar with the models of humor like we are. You could make an argument for relieve, but it is the way he writes that makes me think its incongruity. He is not going for total laughing out loud like Amy, or obviously funny situations like Tale of the Teekongs. It is more subtle, and makes sense only after you read it. Even his personal situation of comparing Britain and America has a subtlety that takes a minute to get.