Jonny99's Reviews > Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain!

Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain! by Scott Adams
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Dec 10, 09

Read in March, 2008

I recently finished the new book by Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert cartoon series and short-lived TV show. I believe the book is just a compilation of Adams’ blog as it is largely constituted by dozens of very short essays without any consistency of topic.
The essays are, generally, as funny as the title of the book suggests and mirror none of the day-to-day irony and insight of the cartoon series. Apparently, what Adams Adams’ finds entertaining in ink is leagues funnier than what he considers interesting in print. For example, he believes the juxtaposition of the salutation “Hi, Jean” and the word “hygiene” hilarious. He spends some time describing stains he found in a cheap motel he once stayed in (they were symmetrical – isn’t that fascinating). There is also a short vignette full covering (and them some) the use of the silent “H” as in doughnut.
However, when writing about producing the Dilbert cartoon, things pick up considerably. In one section he lists his experiments in trying to publish cartoons that feature butts. Showing Wally’s plumber’s crack was rejected yet a profile view of a naked rear-end was accepted. A marketing consultant with an ass instead of a head was only allowed if he had underwear as a hat. In another section he recounts accusations of African-American racial stereotyping upon the introduction of the Asok character despite Asok being Indian. He also recounts a phone call from a belligerent individual accusing him of plagiarism to which he diplomatically applies: “why would I steal crap?”
Adams’ random thoughts never rise toward memorable; however, the insights he allows into his life are interesting. After a bout with allergies that produced laryngitis, his normal speaking voice failed to return, yet he could still give speeches to large crowds. A procession of specialists yielded a plethora of treatments but no relief. Dejected, he typed his symptoms into an internet search which revealed that he had an exceedingly rare condition known as spasmodic dysphonia treatable by botox injections into his larynx. After two years of treatment he discovered he could speak in rhyming verse and later was able to reclaim his voice by using the same synaptic networks that allowed for the rhyming in normal speech. I would have thought he was just nuts had I not previously read Oliver Sacks’ “Musicophilia” which covers this and related conditions in detail.
Adams breaks the last biographical taboo left and talks about being very, very wealthy. He claims to have turned down $100,000 for a single, hour-long speech because of prior commitments but that he is routinely paid sums nearing this for his frequent corporate speeches. The two restaurants he bought are discussed frequently and he laments the difficultly in responding to people who ask what he would like for his birthday because if he wanted something, he would just buy it.
Also interesting is Adams recurring false modesty. He describes himself as dumb and then details his graduation at the top of his classes. He talks about being unable to draw and then notes how many papers Dilbert runs in. He laughs about is shallowness and then writes essays about the nature of being. In this way, he is like Jennifer “Jenny from the Block” Lopez who talks simultaneous about being down-to-earth and yet having the funds to buy swaths of it.
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