Wednesday, February 28, 2018

5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides) - "The Oatmeal" aka Matthew Inman

Related imageSummary: Cleverly whimsical yet oddly informative, The Oatmeal.com is an immensely popular entertainment site full of comics, quizzes, and stories. This collection presents classic favorites as well as all-new hilarity with many never-before-seen comics, such as 8 Reasons to Keep a Canandian as a Pet, 6 Reasons Man Nipples Are Awesome, and 5 Reasons to Have Rabies Instead of Babies. (Summary from back of book – Image from amazon.com)

My Review: My first exposure to Matthew Inman (aka The Oatmeal) came via a particularly informative comic, Ten Words You Need toStop Misspelling. It’s a must-read (so read it).  I’ve come across a few of his other comics since then (e.g. How to Use a Semicolon, When to Use i.e in a Sentence, and the oh-so-helpful How to Use an Apostrophe) – and was impressed at how he distilled concepts Americans have been bungling since grade school into easy-to-understand infographics. If, only, he, had, one, for, commas. *sigh* Alas, he does not. 

Last week, I found this collection of his ‘classic’ comics at my local thrift store and picked it up expecting more of the same kind of work.  I got a little of that -- and a then some.  For reviewing purposes, I tried to divide the Oatmeal’s comics into two different types: Oddly Helpful and Clearly This Guy is a Whack-a-Doo. Let’s start with a few of my Oddly Helpful favorites:
  • How to Suck at Facebook
  • How to Build a Campfire and Not Look Like an A**hole (**added)
  • How to Use a Semicolon (The Most Feared Punctuation on Earth)
  • How to Not Sell Something to My Generation
  • How to Use an Apostrophe 
  • How a Web Design Goes Straight to H*ll (*added)
  • Why Nikola Tesla is the Most Awesome Geek Who Ever Lived
  • Why I’d Rather Be Punched in the Testicles Than Call Customer Service
  • Why It’s Better to Pretend You Don’t Know Anything About Computers
  • 7 Types of Crappy Airline Passengers
  • 10 types of Crappy Interviewees
  • 7 Types of Crappy Pedestrians
  • 10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling
  • 20 Things Worth Knowing About Beer
  • 15ish Thing Worth Knowing about Coffee
  • 14ish Things Worth Knowing About Cheese
  • 17 Things Worth Knowing About Your Cat

Many of these were informational with a comedic bent, while others served as more of a hyperbolic what-NOT-to-do guide for certain situations. As you might have guessed from the titles, quite a few of these are NSFK. I really enjoyed (and appreciated) the more informational comics, but found author’s predilection for sophomoric humor and cartoon gore was a little much, even for my less-than-delicate sensibilities.

The other type of comic is what I affectionately call Clearly This Guy is a Whack-a-Doo. These comics were obviously and intentionally absurd. Here are a few examples:
  • 8 Reasons to Keep a Canadian as a Pet
  • 8 Ways to Tell if Your Loved One Plans to Eat You 
  • 6 Reasons Bacon is Better than True Love
  • 6 Ways to Improve Your Home Using a Human Corpse
  • 7 Reasons to Keep Your Tyrannosaur Off Crack Cocaine
  • The Three Phases of Owning a Computer
  • 10 Things that Bears Love
  • The 8 Phases of Employment
  • A Polar Bear’s Guide to Making New Friends (in 5 Easy Steps)
  • There are a lot more.  I'm just tired of listing them...
This was my least favorite part of the book.  I found it was hard to read these comics in rapid succession, rather than individually, as you might expect in the paper or on a website.  The routine felt worn out from repeated use.

The Oatmeal’s comics on grammar, punctuation, and how-not-to-behave-in-public provide a much-needed service to the English-speaking population, but, to be perfectly honest, I can’t recommend this book to the people in my life. Most of them are sensitive readers who would find this book more offensive than funny.

That having been said, I know several people who would probably pee their pants while reading this book. I’m not going to point fingers *coughmybrotherMattcough*, but it takes a certain personality. With than in mind, I would recommend this to anyone who loves cartoon gore and highly off-color, filter-less humor. I’m not judging. I’m just saying that if you are obsessed with Cards Against Humanity...you’d probably like this book.

My Rating: 2 Stars.

For the sensitive reader: This probably isn’t the book for you. There are a few great comics that you’d probably like, but they are mixed in with a bunch that you would find offensive. It contains crass humor, surprisingly graphic cartoon gore, swearing, and sexual references/innuendo.

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