NEW YORK—Publishing group Penguin Classics ran into intense criticism on Monday when they announced that all 916 instances of the n-word would be reinserted into forthcoming editions of Henry James’s seminal work of Victorian psychological realism, The Portrait of a Lady. “Though we understand the sensitivity surrounding this issue,” read the press release from Penguin, “we firmly stand by our restoration of this great novel according to Henry James’s original design, and believe our decision will more concretely place his masterpiece into its proper historical context of completely ubiquitous and openly accepted racial prejudice.” The authoritative new text, Penguin explained, would “much, much more explicitly” convey the deeply ingrained bigotry of the socially elite world that James so masterfully depicted. Upon hearing the news, scholars immediately began to speculate whether new editions would also include the digressive 160-page interlude in which Isabel Archer’s coldly intellectual betrothed Gilbert Osmond cultivates his hobbyist fascination with “negroid phrenology.”
NEW YORK—Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared tired and unmotivated during his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, during which he completely failed to speculate about the U.S. government’s complicity in the attacks of September 11 and only desultorily questioned the historical legitimacy of the Holocaust, in a rather uninspired speech that critics said was sorely lacking the usual “Mahmoud fire.” Commented UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, “I don’t know what was up with him today. It’s like he suddenly didn’t care at all about the sinister plots of international Zionist agents. He couldn’t even bring himself to throw in a couple of minutes about how gay people are unnatural. Was he sick the night before or something?” Ahmadinejad’s weak address stood in stark contrast to his legendary performance at the 2010 General Assembly, when comments he made about 9/11 provoked a mass walkout. “Man, he was in the zone,” reminisced Ki-moon. “Without a doubt one of the most infuriatingly offensive pieces of rhetoric I’ve ever had the privilege to witness.” Numerous Western delegates walked out of Ahmadinejad’s address this year as well, but “only out of respect for the man’s legacy.”
CAMBRIDGE—In response to allegations that dozens of students in the Harvard Divinity School class “Exegesis of Paul” shared answers on the take-home final exam last spring, the accused seminarians defended themselves by citing the widespread culture of academic dishonesty at Harvard Divinity School, as well as the majestic word of the Lord, who appeared to them in a wondrous vision and explicitly counseled that they all plagiarize each other. “Pretty much everybody does it here,” explained Master of Divinity candidate Graham Campbell, “especially when God Himself deems you worthy enough to bear witness to His glory, and reveals to you the beautiful mission that has for all time been inexorably fated to be yours—part of which is to help make [Professor] Dalton’s pain-in-the-ass final a little easier for everyone.” Agreed classmate Valerie Glenn, “It’s easy to judge, but when you’re looking at 35 pages of writing you have to do by next week, along with a million other things on your plate—and Jesus Christ himself decrees that you share the fruits of your labor with your brothers and sisters so that we may all join hands in togetherness and come closer to building the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth… I’m not gonna be all, ‘Sorry, Jesus, it’s against university policy.’” Both agreed that without passing the class, they would have had a much harder time getting into law school.
TRENTON—Upon spotting two women engaged in affectionate physical contact with each other at a restaurant on Tuesday, local construction worker Frank Alberstadt emitted a grunt of pleasure that sources reported had nothing at all to do with the queer rights movement’s continued progress in promoting societal acceptance for all sexual orientations and gender identities. “Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about,” muttered Alberstadt, his statement in no way motivated by New York state’s legalization of gay marriage last year, nor by President Obama’s historic endorsement of said cause in May. When Alberstadt proceeded to elbow his fellow diner Sonny Viscuzzo, pointing to the couple and saying, “Nice view, eh?”, he was not referring to the amazing sight of two same-sex people openly enjoying their romantic companionship without fear of judgment, an act that would have been unthinkable merely fifty years ago. At press time, Alberstadt had emailed Viscuzzo a series of JPEGs, none of which featured the octogenarian lesbian couple that was the first to officially wed in Manhattan embracing in front of a courthouse.
SANTA CRUZ—The legendary title of Chillness was conferred upon local bro Howie Clatter by exalted fellow bro Travis Hornsbach, sources reported Tuesday, after the two sat together in Clatter’s backyard and smoked marijuana using his colorful 3 1/2 foot tall bong. “Howie? He’s chill,” declared Hornsbach the following afternoon, a heavenly designation he had previously only bestowed on the activity of longboarding and any mash-up track involving the Notorious B.I.G. “We just kicked it on his patio and ripped hella tree,” Hornsbach elaborated, providing a modicum of insight into the mysterious decision-making process that led him to grant Clatter such spectacular blessedness. When he heard of this astounding eternal bounty, the Chill Howie Clatter replied, “Oh shit, Travis is my dude!” Continued Clatter, “No homo.”
DALLAS—Moviegoer Gordon Macavoy reported Wednesday that what initially appeared to be a poignant and lyrical short film reflecting on the ghostly transience of youth just ended up turning into an ad for imported beer in the last five seconds. The heart-wrenching masterpiece, which played between a Capital One ad and a reminder for everyone to turn off their cell phones, opened with an exquisitely framed image of a forlorn young man standing on a beach, looking off into the horizon. After an instant of deeply meaningful silence, a Terence Malick-esque voiceover came in, musing, “I remember what it was like to be free…” The shirtlessly melancholic hero then began to run with mysterious purpose while moments from his past romances flashed onto the screen. As the voiceover reached its moment of sublime catharsis, questioning, “Why couldn’t we have everything we ever wanted?”, he arrived in front of a beautiful woman constructing an majestic sand castle. The woman, whose eyes seemed to have known the bracing depths of loneliness, handed the man a beer bottle clearly demarcating the brand name “Negra Modelo”, at which point the two smiled at each other, their sorrows apparently forgotten. The visibly moved Macavoy, recalling the joyful adolescence that is now forever lost inside the infinite diamond of time, resolved to pick up a six-pack of the advertised beverage the next time he went to the grocery store.
Here’s a video of me doing stand-up at End of the World, which is a great show that happens bimonthly at the Lyric-Hyperion Theater in Silverlake. Also, I lost my face in a horrific accident.
Here is a thing I made featuring stand-up comedy by Joseph Ocon and Ellie McElvain. It is a rip-off of “Blerds”, the great web series by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (http://www.youtube.com/user/Blerds).