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Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's Humor Category
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Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's Humor Category

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  2,103 Ratings  ·  195 Reviews
Now more than ever, Americans are troubled by questions. As sweaty modernity thrusts itself upon us, the veil of ignorance that cloaked our nation hangs in tatters, tattered tatters. Our "funny bones" are neither fun nor bony. Glum is the new giddy, and the old giddy wasn't too giddy to begin with.


What can be done to stop this relentless march of drabbery? Nothing. But pe
Paperback, 249 pages
Published June 14th 2005 by Vintage (first published 2004)
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May 26, 2008 rated it did not like it
Can you give 0 stars? How about negative stars? This book was probably the least funny book of humor I've ever read, and yes, I got it. I understood WHY most of this stuff was supposed to be funny, but I certainly didn't agree. I actually couldn't get to sleep for a few extra minutes last night, because I was so pissed at myself for wasting two hours on this book.

This type of humor just seems so pleased with itself, no, almost enraptured with itself. Some stories take a relatively amusing premis
Dec 08, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
Amazingly, McSweeney's has invented yet another hipster trend – that of the genre being “humourous without being funny.”

No, the magazine itself was not the first to tackle such an element. For years prior to its death, the National Lampoon featured any number of deadpan articles which were essentially born dead, whether the result of a poor concept, inept writing, faulty comic timing, or just plain comedic bombing. But the difference between Nat. Lamp. and McSweeney's is that the latter seems to
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
Meh. And again I say - meh. And can I just say that I don't LIKE McSweeney's? Okay? I live in McSweeney's-land, I feel as if San Francisco is some sort of theme park of the mind for McSweeney's, and it just flat out leaves me cold. This collection is like David Letterman in prose -- lots of silly lists, lots of snarky pastiches of easy pop culture targets, sometimes with a meta level thrown in to please the grad students. I did laugh at the bad baby names, but don't waste my time calling this li ...more
Rion Scott
May 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
I can't stress how unfunny some of these pieces are. Mostly because they are not rooted in anything I can recognize as interesting or important.

These pieces don't work to engage the reader through laughter or some other reaction or emotion, they seek to show how clever or witty the writer is. Writing that simply emphasizes the wittiness of the writer is the most alienating and depressing form of anti-communication there is.
Oct 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiftyfiftyme
So there are two ways to look at this book:

1. As a book: the Star Wars chapter had me in stitches. I really liked this one, too. (Become a sucker MC!) and it was great to see my goodreads pal Jim Ruland among the authors! (Hi Jim!)
Other parts of the book were tedious and, more often than not, had the disconnected feeling of internet content forced into becoming a book.

2. As a medium: The book is internet content forced into becoming a book. There is something so completely backwards about this t
Aug 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
There is not much humor in this pointless compilation of artless works by a bunch of writers who must think they are hilariously funny. This book is like a bad trip into the self-absorbed minds of people who seem to enjoy gazing at their belly buttons with utmost fascination. To be fair about it, one story make me chuckle. Once. It was “The Spirit of Christmas” by Kurt Lucks, about 4 pages long. Also of note, “On the Implausibility of the Death Star’s Trash Compactor” by J.M. Tyree, 4 pages long ...more
Nov 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
today as i was waiting at the bus stop i was reading the lists at the end of this book and laughing, quite loudly, to myself. unfortunately, i didn't know there was someone behind me also waiting for the bus who probably thought i was a bit of a weirdo. but the book was just too funny to contain my joy. i especially loved the lists at the end, and the essay entitled "on the implausibility of the death star's trash compactor." a few of the essays were too long and not-so-funny, and sometimes i di ...more
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny
This is a collection of 'humourous' stories that appeared in McSweeney's online and in print. I use the term 'humourous' loosely. Most of it is pretentious junk in which the writer seems to believe he/she is unbearably clever, or simply could not have given less of a shit about what they were writing. There are a few funny exceptions, such as the Supreme Court Justices making all landmark case decisions on the basketball court, and Noam Chomsky/Howard Zinn giving a commentary for 'The Return of ...more
Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A collection of extremely short items, mostly no more than four pages. I found some of them mildly amusing, but many were just confusing. I did like the lists section at the end of the book. I got this from the library when I saw a review of a later McSweeney's book in the paper, but now I doubt if I'll bother with that one.
Amar Pai
Jul 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


I LOL'd rereading it

He makes some good points. Closed septic systems FTW
Aug 14, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Humor writing that is not so funny from a bunch of 2nd rate Dave Eggers copycats. :P
Oct 10, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK anthology of humor from the magazine/website.
Mar 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book marks the point at which McSweeney's (who I love) really was too much in love with itself. Some good stories, mostly meh.
Biff  Nightingale
May 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Silly in some parts, dull in others and hilarious in small doses. Definitely read it, but don't expect to be blown away.
Ashley Hietpas
Not sure why I didn't like this more. I usually love all of their humor pieces on
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Off the wall creative writers
this book was strange strange strange. Though I did enjoy a few...
Brent Pickett
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a hilarious collection of inventive, short humor pieces.
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SRP (Summer Reading Program) Why Bite: A compilation of humor pieces from McSweeney’s, some are funny, some aren’t, and some are hilarious.

My favorite alternate title for this book: Humor Is Timeless: 1998-2003.

I am not, nor will probably ever be, a dedicated reader of McSweeney’s. I do, however, have a soft spot in my heart for nearly all things San Francisco, and also happen to enjoy Dave Eggers’ writing. Being that McSweeney’s has a certain reputation and specific fan base, I was surprised to
Jan 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011

Two stars because this book was hit and miss. Some parts made me laugh out loud and some made me glare at the page in disgust, like, "Hey, that's not funny." Like, "That's not funny in a way that isn't just 'oh man, what a corny joke' but more like 'that's not a joke at all. That's just a labored, cumbersome and random pop culture reference a la Chuck Klosterman or 30 Rock Season 4 and maan am I tired of that shit.'" Like, "Is this author even trying to be funny?"

This book reminds me of this th
Sam Quixote
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Created in Darkness" is a collection of humour ranging from lists to jokes to stories and as you would expect with any joke anthology, the results are mixed but are generally quite brilliant. I felt that the best pieces were JM Tyree's essay "On the Implausibility of the Death Star's Trash Compacter" and Jeff Alexander and Tom Bissell's "Unused Audio Commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring".

The "Death Star" essay is actually a well thoug
Aug 08, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Garrett Zecker
Oct 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Created in Darkness is a brilliant collection of some of the funniest satire of our age presented by one of the funniest and original publications ever created. The McSweeney’s collections are beautifully curated and offer a great deal to any audience that picks them up. I really love the fact that I can pick these books up and read things, enjoy them as single bites, and then if I want to share them I can legally find them on the website and send a friend a link. They win the traffic, they won ...more
Brian DiMattia
Jul 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like most humor collections, the selections are a little hit or miss, but by and large it's a terrific book and good for plenty of indie/intellectual laughs.

Of course, that means there are plenty of people who will think it's pretentious and 'too-smart-for-its-own-good.' But if you like smart, sarcastic humor, and don't really care who thinks you're a hipster (or even an ironic, less serious post-hipster) this is a howl. "Created In Darkness By Troubled Americans" knows it has a very specific au
Apr 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
If I could give this zero stars I would.
* 48 awful pieces. Worse than hipsters with handlebar mustaches (for whom and by whom this book appears to have been written) or the Tea Party (for whom this book likely represents much of what they can't stand about "liberals").
* 1 piece that had a funny premise but went on far too long. Unused Audio Commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky Recorded Summer 2002 for The Fellowship of the Ring (Platinum Series Extended Edition) DVD Part One (1)
* 1 piec
Oct 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A collection of brief humor pieces from the literary magazine and website, written mostly by unknowns and showcasing its erudite, absurdist slant. As with any florilegium such as this, it’s a hit and miss collection. The relatively lengthy piece explaining that the Supreme Court’s decisions are actually arrived at through basketball games played by the justices is far too overblown and tedious; I found Neal Pollack’s nonsensical “Trinity” to be the least funny thing that ever attempted to be fun ...more
Dec 19, 2007 rated it did not like it
God, this was heinous. I has suspected that whole McSweeney's thing was way, way overblown, and this only provides me solid evidence. I had hoped for something prescient, relevant, and solidly funny. Instead it was a bunch of smarty-pants white-guy jokes (e.g. Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn debate LOTR, the journal of a recruit to COBRA (the enemies of GI Joe, if you recall), and a list of Chewbacca's lines from Star Wars) whose only humor lies in their tangential connection of current personaliti ...more
Nov 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who like jokey jokes
Recommended to Maureen by: Matthew
Shelves: 2009, anthology
not my cup of tea. i like absurd humour, not what purports to be clever humour. the only thing in it that really made me laugh very hard was the Journal of a new COBRA recruit because it pointed out the absurdities in the cartoon: why stand quietly and aim when you can just keep running at the target, shooting wildly and yelling COBRA?, for example. and you can find that actually funny column right here for free on the interweb: don't both reading the seq ...more
Bob Anderson
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best humor books I’ve read this year; the short-form collection seems to whether minor hiccups in quality better than book-length humor can. The pieces here are of generally high quality; my favorite was a purported DVD commentary for the first Lord of the Rings movie by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky. This extended piece, written by Jeff Alexander and Tom Bissell, at times puts words in Zinn and Chomsky’s mouths that they probably would never say, but the whole effect is simply ...more
Luc Reid
Oct 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I got this book because I was hoping for something that would keep me laughing out loud; unfortunately this book falls short.

The humor in it is startlingly homogeneous in concept: take some lowbrow or absurdist premise and present it as an essay, article, journal, dialog, etc. in a calm, erudite tone. It seems to be more about ideas that are odd to think about than about actual laughter.

Then again, it's possible it's just not my cup of tea and that it's uproariously funny for other people.

Mar 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I am shocked that there are people in this world with the ability to craft such brilliant farce. This book is perfect to pick up and put down because it is a collection of short essays, but it is hard not to move on to the next chapter when you finish wiping the tear of laughter from your eyes! Perhaps the best "essay" is the "Unused Audio Commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, Recorded Summer 2002, for the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring DVD (Platinum Series Extended Version), Pa ...more
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Dave Eggers is the author of ten books, including most recently Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, The Circle and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney’s Quarterly ...more
More about Dave Eggers...