I've been reading a lot for my classes over the years, and especially this semester as I am taking four writing classes. However, today I read what was probably the most entertaining, and most hilarious assigned reading EVER!
"I’M COMIC SANS, ASSHOLE." is a cleverly written monologue in which the font "Comic Sans" responds to someone who doesn’t like him.
This was by far my favorite article of all of the articles I read from McSweeney's (and possibly my favorite article of all-time). I literally laughed out loud. I am a font fanatic and I personally hate Comic sans as a font. I know many others who also have strong feelings against this font. To top it off, the whole article is written in Comic Sans. I think that is one of the major reasons that this article stood out from the crowd.
The diction that the author used in this article is what I think really made it hilarious and unique. Lacher effectively dropped the F bomb seven times. I read the article out loud as I was reading it for the first time, and I realized how essential the curse words were in making Comic Sans really seem real and pissed off.
To answer a discussion question posed by one of my classmates about the impact of the swearing, I do not think the message would have the same impact without the swearing. I think it was the "cherry completing the sundae" and definitely gave "special spice" to personify and characterize Comic Sans as a figure with feelings. Imagine if a bunch of people were always talking trash about you, egging you on, choosing other fonts over you (if you were a font) – this is the situation Comic Sans is dealing with. His diction shows his anger and emotion, and certainly adds humor to the piece. A lot of McSweeney's articles have cursing in them, so I don't think that this would’ve turned off the editor. So many comedians nowadays rely on the use of curse words (especially the F bomb) to help put emphasis on funny phrases. And a lot of people do the same thing in conversation. I think the swearing was “tasteful” (enough) and necessary to the conversational nature of this narrative.
Beyond the swearing (and possibly in contrast to it), Lacher sprinkles in a few complex words that distinguish Comic Sans and provide him with credibility. Some examples include "malformed" "levity" and "stark." Lacher's use of such strong words (in contrast to the conversational curse words) adds to the ethos of Comic Sans. Comic Sans also bashes a bunch of other fonts, including Helvetica, Gotham, Avenir, and Univers, in a uniquely worded way. For example, "We don’t all have seventy-three weights of stick-up-my-ass Helvetica sitting on our seventeen-inch MacBook Pros" and the whole section that says that Comic Sans is doing cool, fun things while other fonts are doing essentially the opposite (boring things). As others have mentioned, these descriptions really provide imagery and provide a picture for the audience of Comic Sans being the cool kid, and all those other fonts being uptight and lame.
Comic Sans is basically saying "F you" the whole time through his choice of words. Toward the end he says, "It doesn't even matter what you think. You know why, jagoff? Cause I'm famous." The choice of words here further identifies the point of view from Comic Sans. He then goes on to paint a picture of all of the places he is - signs, browsers, and instant messengers.
I also really enjoyed his last paragraph "Enough of this bullshit. I'm gonna go get hammered with Papyrus." This created imagery of two annoying fonts going out and getting drunk and pissing people off - further adding to the personification of the Comic Sans character.
Overall, I think the reasons this article really stood out stem from the negative connotations commonly associated with Comic Sans, the format of the article itself (in Comic Sans), as well as the diction and tone (conversational curse words teamed with condescending complex words).
Some questions for further analysis:
1. What other words or literary techniques could Lacher have employed to show Comic Sans as a personified character?
2. How else was the author's tone of voice defined by the words and phrases of the narrative?
3. Why do you think Lacher didn't include more positive things that people say about Comic Sans?
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