So, inside this perfect human specimen that paps worship and other musicians lose their concentration over, is a type A, competitive, finicky person who studies Paul Simon’s percussive rhythms and reads Herman Hesse. He has cultivated a rare air of rock star cool, but he’s not like any other rock star. Inside his head are a thousand Chinese boxes where everything learned is tucked away just so.
• Buys presents in the exact size and color. If he wants a child’s Kenzo sweater in 4T ecru and it’s available in 4T eggshell? Get that eggshell shit out of his face. When the ecru arrives tomorrow? Please have it wrapped in the candy-stripe tissue paper and the gold foil box. Harry will be there at 3:00 PM (actually 3:47:12 on the Rolex Submariner) to pick it up. Thank you.
• Walks around his house in circles trying to think of the perfect word for his lyrics, like Gustave “The Bear” Flaubert with his one-sentence-per-day Madame Bovary-esque writing. Is it too much to ask for something comme ci, comme ça? Something wunderbar. Something excellent. Something magnifico. Something…great. Is it too much to ask for something great, Lou! I got it! –(Absent-mindedly, because it’s been two hours): That’s beautiful, Harry.
• Numbers the curls on his head so that they fall at exact angles for maximum coolness and sex appeal, no matter the length, regardless of haberdashery. Today’s forecast, wind from the northeast at 5 mph, with a relative humidity of 28%. Plan is for a blue beanie with curls 57 through 61 peeking from the right, at angles of 47 degrees relative to the face, ruffling at 5.2 mph, or 0.2 mph relative to wind speed if traveling in same direction. You know what that means, don’t you? 2.8 squirts of Tom Ford Black Orchid as a cloud walk through, but only after a base of Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery face cream.
• Counts sheep in esthetically varied colors, shapes, and sizes while going to sleep, never the same sheep twice, never falling asleep until the smallest sheep, a hopelessly long-haired lamb named Eileen, hoists her wee bottom over that pesky fence. Oh, Eileen.
• Pouts because he can’t get his trumpets in “Olivia.”
• Gets mermaid tattoo with pubic hair
• Is super competitive and is best at what he chooses to do. That’s not basketball.
• Rolls up one shirtsleeve higher than the other one by exactly 1.638 inches always.
• Buys jeans one size smaller and 420 oxygen molecules less than Mick Jagger always
• Knows that “matching swallows” does not mean “mirror image swallows” because 1. size difference and 2. eyebrows. Gets these details right.
• Is a cute drunk. Gets this right.
• Leaves exactly one fingernail unpainted on exactly THAT finger
• Cuts the collars of hoodies
• Captions IG photos with the minimum number of words, per hipster esthetic code. E.g. “Strong,” “No such green.”
• Makes laconic social statements through visual irony– see, black & white photo of the Super Bowl 2016 rainbow “Love” stadium.
• Picks perfect soulmate because no one else will do. Must be big spoon.
• Somehow gets soulmate’s tweet professing love to him to reach 2 million retweets on freaking Valentine’s Day.
Other authors: Oh, wonderful! Yes, I’d love to come and engage with the readership and delve with them into the deeper recesses of my very layered and important work!
Me: Okay, some things right up front:
1) Does this mean I have to know what I’m talking about? Because I’ll be honest, I usually just make shit up as I go along. I’m not a real writer, not one of those proper ones who have big ideas and things they want to say. I just pretend to be one for tea money. I don’t actually have any gems of genius to impart, or anything. I honestly don’t know why anyone would want to listen to me blather on. Am I selling myself so far? Yes? Oh good, my publisher will be pleased.
2) I am going to get one of these stab vests to wear, right?
3) Are you expecting me to actually speak? Like, out loud? To people? Who are in the same room as me? Can’t I just… Skype? On audio only? That would probably be better for all concerned. Let’s do that. Or how about we get an actor to play me? That’s a good idea. Get Kate Mulgrew, she’s awesome. And also, a fantastic writer. So hey - why not just ask her? There you go. Much better idea. They’ll actually know who the hell she is, for starters. Sorted.
Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her realism, biting irony and social commentary as well as her acclaimed plots have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics.
Before I continue, my editor wants me to define the term butch-femme, and I am overwhelmed at the complexity of the task. Living a butch-femme life was not an intellectual exercise; it was not a set of theories. Deep in my gut I know what being a femme has meant to me, but it is very hard to articulate the identity in a way that does justice to its fullest nature and yet answers the questions of a curious reader. In the most basic terms, butch-femme means a way of looking, loving, and living that can be expressed by individuals, couples, or a community. In the past, butch has been labelled to simplistically the masculine partner and the femme her feminine counterpart. This labeling forgets two women who have developed their styles for specific erotic, emotional, and social reasons. Butch-femme relationships, as I experienced them, were complex erotic and social statements, not phony heterosexual replicas. They were filled with a deeply lesbian language of stance, dress, gesture, love, courage, and autonomy. In the 1950s particularly, butch-femme couples were the front-line warriors against sexual bigotry. Because they were so visible, they suffered the brunt of street violence. The irony of social change has made a radical, sexual, political statement of the 1950s today a reactionary, nonfeminist experience. My own roots lie deep in the earth of this lesbian custom and what follows is one lesbian’s understanding of her own experience.
Joan Nestle, “The Femme Question.” 1992. In The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader.
Cait can’t read nor write, but she has learned to
identify some words, such as “Danger”, “Combat Zone”, “Swan”
or her own name. She starts learning letters and numbers after her
rehab, when she decides that she wants to open a new Combat Zone,
but, in the end, she ends up developing a new writing system that
mixes words and symbols only she can understand. It’s possible she’s
Codsworth has reading among his skills, as he needs it for both communicating with his masters through notes and grocery lists, and for reading kids to sleep. However, he finds it difficult to read for his own amusement, because has the thought that he has to be “useful” so ingrained into his CPU that it feels rude to him to “waste” time in his own leisure… but he loves historic novels, specially if they have a touch of both hopeless romanticism and bloody gore.
Danse knows how to read, but he’s not very good at it.
He needs to take his time at it, and when he wants to make sure that
he really understands what’s written, he unconsciously follows the
words with his finger. He has a very rough, difficult to understand,
hand-writing. However, he is a certified combat medic, able to
provide first aid and trauma care in the battlefield (it was a
voluntary course but he felt it was important to take it – and
encouraged all the soldiers under his command to do the same), and a
certified specialist in civilian crisis management and crowd control
during mass panic.
Deacon can read and truly enjoys it. Pre-war everyday
texts such as newspapers or even grocery lists really amuse him,
but what really catches his attention enough to sink in it for hours
are books that make him think, that show the world and the
character’s drama in a crooked light, with a lot of symbolism and a
bit of irony and social criticism. Needless to say, Proust is his
favorite writer. And he’s dying to get ahold of a good Shakespearian
library. His lazy handwriting is plainly illegible (he says it’s
code, but bullshit) but if he forces himself he can write with lovely
Dogmeat can’t read - he’s a dog!
Hancock can and loves reading. The Old State House has
a very big old library he hasn’t finished to dust off yet, and he
gave word to Daisy to set aside for him any interesting books that
she could come across. He loves philosophy, politics and history
treatises, of course, but what really draws his attention are texts
written in first person, that explain a personal experience or a
situation from the point of view of a real witness. He has also grown fond of The Silver Shroud thanks to Kent, but he only started reading
the comics to be able to follow his fan-theories when they talked
about the topic. His handwriting is very nice, curved and flourished
– it might be possible that he is secretly trying to imitate real
MacCready knows how to read but he gets bored easily
with huge, dense books. He prefers things that are fast-paced and
have a bit of action and humor, and a charismatic main character he
can relate to (like comics, or theater plays). His handwriting is a mess, and makes a
lot, but like in, a lot, of orthographic mistakes.
Piper can totally read and has naturally mastered
several speed reading techniques. She truly enjoys pulp fiction, but
hides her magazines behind more serious, non-fiction books (that she
also devours; truth is, she loves reading ANYTHING). Her handwriting
is very straight and practical, made to take quick and easy to read notes.
Valentine can read and loves doing so, but right now he hasn’t time
due to the amount of archives he has to revise – he complains all
the cases already give him enough lecture material. However, he has
read everything that is worth of reading (and has an amazing memory
for quotes), and he’s a frigging expert in 1800s poetry.
His handwriting is refined and clear, but he tends to write little annotations all over the
Ahhh oh my goodness you have NO idea how excited I am to have the opportunity to talk about this in depth!
I’m going to be talking about the main Undertale characters’ humor types from two angles:
How the humor is conveyed. Basically, this is how the humor is expressed or enacted - through puns, knock knock jokes, pranks, irony, or something else. So this is the “medium” of humor.
How the humor is used. Humor can be used for a variety of purposes and effects - whether it’s trolling someone else for mischief’s sake, making self-deprecating comments, or trying to appeal to an audience. Each of the characters in Undertale use humor for a different intent. So this is the “purpose” of the humor.
It’s also hard to categorize humor, but I attempted to make some categorizations for humor types:
Prank A joke that involves committing an act to surprise another individual. It is a practical joke and mischievous act. Note that I do separate pranking from trolling.
Pun A joke that centers on word play. Especially, a word is used with two simultaneous meanings, or a word is changed slightly to provide the two meanings. One of the simultaneous meanings is natural to the sentence, while another might hark at a relevant theme. I am going to collapse the idea of puns and other word plays into one category, so something like Sans saying, “I’ll keep an eyesocket out for ya” I will still call a pun for the sake of giving a few concrete humor categories.
Other Miscellaneous categories are helpful. Anything that does not fall into the categories I mark as “other.”
Quip Quips are witty remarks. I’m using this word to try to catch a type of humor I see in Undertale where the individual is making a silly comment that is not teasing a person nearby, but still making a joking remark about a circumstance. Some quips in this game have a sense of irony to them, or might have an unexpected turn of events at the end of the phrase from expected.
Teasing Directly commenting on someone else’s actions in a way that humorously points out something odd they did.
Trolling Screwing around with another individual in an attempt to confound and especially frustrate them. Trolling, unlike pranking, can be and usually is verbal instead of action-oriented.
Looking at the characters in Undertale, I summarize their humor tendencies in the following way:
Alphys: Social media interactions and irony / Deprecation
0% Prank, 0% Pun, 100% Other, 0% Quip, 0% Teasing, 0% Trolling.
The end game of Alphys’ humor is usually to take a shot at herself, or, a little less frequently, shots at others. We see this in ways like her taking a photograph of a garbage can and saying it’s herself. When others make jokes, she sometimes expects that they’re making light of themselves - she doesn’t think Papyrus is serious when he edits biceps on his selfie, for instance. Alphys’ humor expression fits into my “Other” category - she’ll use particular internet phraseology and expressions to get her point across. The way she capitalizes and expresses herself is what we would see on social media, but isn’t an obvious quip or play on words.
Sans: Puns and pranks (trolling) –> All for the purpose of trolling Prank 9%, Pun 25%, Other 2%, Quip 21%, Teasing 25%, Trolling (alone) 19%
Sans is a troll. Sans is SUCH a troll. He’s not the game’s punster, but the TROLL. What he enjoys more than anything is screwing around with others and jokingly getting them frustrated or surprised. Sans expresses his trollish humor through a wide variety of humor styles, but the jokes usually have the same end goal: to screw with someone and catch them off guard. This includes teasing Papyrus, intentionally annoying Papyrus with bad puns, and pranking the people of Snowdin. He’s got a quip for almost everything, and there’s often a sense of irony or turn of expectations to how he finishes his comments. He’s all about catching people off-guard. Sans is definitely a troll first and foremost, but yes, he does enjoy bad jokes, puns, and toilet humor, too.
Toriel loves puns and jokes - especially bad jokes. They don’t have to be particularly clever wordplays (”chairiel?”), but she’ll find amusement with them regardless. Sans says that Toriel laughs incredibly hard at his self-admitted bad jokes, and she gives her own bad jokes. Toriel often uses puns and bad jokes as a means of social interaction and creating bonds. It’s how she and Sans become friends, and it’s how she interacted lovingly with Asgore back in the days of their marriage.
I did not go through Mettaton’s humorous instances as in depth as the other characters on this list. I could have collected more instances of Mettaton making comments, so this graph is incomplete and could be a little misleading. However, it is very clear that Mettaton uses a lot of puns to sound like the word-savvy showman. He uses word play as a means of providing entertainment to his audience.
Papyrus: Puns (yes, you read that right) / Social interaction 7% Prank, 72% Pun, 7% Other, 7% Quip, 7% Teasing, 0% Trolling.
It is challenging to tell what Papyrus is thinking and whether or not his comments are meant to be serious or silly. It means it’s hard to pin what should be counted as humor for this skeleton. What is his humor? Actually hard to say. I even vacillate about whether or not I should count his enthusiasm to give the human japes (NYEH HEH HEH!!!) as humor.
In the midst of being uncertain about many of his words and thoughts, though, it is clear that Papyrus finds puns fun. Yes, Papyrus. Puns. Fun. When we can tell Papyrus is being humorous and lighthearted, it’s usually with a pun. He even tells Undyne that she enriched his life with her “coolshed” pun. It’s true that he gets irritated with Toriel and Sans - probably because their jokes are genuinely BAD, Sans has always trolled his brother, and Papyrus has gotten very tired of his brothers’ poor humor expressions repeated year after year.
I realize I didn’t get through everyone, including Undyne and Flowey, in part because they’re complicated, and in part because I didn’t want to dally any more posting this. Also please note that these graphs are NOT comprehensive of all the jokes all the characters make in the game. For instance, I didn’t get to Sans and Toriel’s texting at the end of the game, so those jokes aren’t included in the graphs. But I hope that what I collected was representative enough of the characters.
Below the Read More, I have more in-depth analysis/commentary of each of these characters’ humor tendencies.
we are the ferocious, cutthroat vocal
talking above one another, imminent vices and the prickling endless gush of youth
years 16 to 22
we see something and say
I want to write that on my body
behind my neck above my collarbone inside my wrist
or, we say
that should be on a t-shirt
and watch as baby-boomers fumble over reading glasses, they are nostalgic for the wrong reasons
a broad smile when buying a camera for the first time
and no, smiling again, they’ll say
no, it was not digital
we are the
24-hour news reports opened on six different tabs while catching up on the latest episode of
that fucking medieval show, the one with the incest, right?
98,000 notes on a text post about waiting for a revolution
dreamers, sitting on our arses no-good for the community, no-good to your grandparents
eyes off the phone, they say
stern, exasperated, shaking their heads
kids these days never learn
they don’t know what it’s like
they don’t know
they don’t know
signed up for job alert emails
we are the
marked as read
open arms, wide
there is an embrace for all things fleeting
and yet still we yearn for
to say one day, fuck your hashtag
I’m writing that on a t-shirt
there’s a tremor in the air we are here
we are the
influx of voicemails no one even listens to anymore
grinding our palms against a looming wall of
no, we have not exhausted the limits
get the hell off our property
English novelist. Her works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her realism, biting irony and social commentary have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics. Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years into her thirties. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it. Austen’s works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her works, though usually popular, were first published anonymously and brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew’s A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.