Letter from the humor section

At 10:14 p.m. on election night, I hurriedly contacted the Weekly’s web editor Yinbo Gao. I told him not to publish any of the scheduled Humor articles and to instead make the Humor tab click through to a solid black screen. While we worked in the media suite I cried funeral tears. I did not attempt to suppress my shock and heartbreak that verged on hysteria brought on by the election results.

As each day passes, I grow more ashamed of my shock. I was wrong to be so surprised and I was wrong in my utmost conviction that what happened last Tuesday would not, simply could not, happen. I blindly trusted every poll. I dismissed the overtly and systemic racist, sexist and xenophobic sentiments of Trump and his supporters as crazy and impossible for anyone to consciously vote in favor of. But racism, sexism and the upholding of customs that reaffirm prejudice and inequality have shaped the United States for hundreds of years. My uncomfortable recognition of realities within our country removed my blinders in this election, though arguably too late.

As we are all aware, there is a cacophony of voices competing to make sense of the result last Tuesday. I do not suggest that my attempt is correct. My voice is not the smartest or the most profound. It is not the funniest or the most important, by any stretch of the imagination.

I do not know what is going to happen next. It will probably not be good. I do not wish to impart a pithy, limp reassurance of hope — or even worse — “silver linings.” I am not hopeful.

I do not know what is appropriate to laugh at. I do not know what the joke is. For months we made fun of and laughed at a man who has just been elected to one of, if not the most powerful office in the world.

A section still needs content, and this week, we resume. Humor is oft-lauded as a necessary and effective tool of resistance and commentary in dire circumstances. This will remain true in the coming weeks, months, years.

It was a pleasure to work with the writers featured in this section. They are published here now, one week late:

Griffin Wynne’s piece, perhaps more biting and poignant than ever, describes a violent and upsetting encounter with a male first-year student and offers suggestions for more productive things men can do with their time than yell things at women.

Samuel Page, with references to Oedipus Rex and Sun god Ra that truly impressed me with their originality and innovation, describes what it feels like to register for classes in the anxiety-rich days before declaring your major during sophomore year.

Kylie Brakeman provides diary entries from various Marketplace food items. Of the three, I edited this piece for profanity the most. In an early draft, she wrote an entry about soy chicken that included the phrase, “Spit me out daddy, I’m erect.”

I do not know if these articles will make you laugh. Current circumstances do not call for laughter so much as they call for clever, articulate and creative voices. I am happy to introduce a few of those voices this week.

If it means anything, I can count the number of times I have laughed out loud this week on one hand. One of those times happened when I saw a Red Cross blood drive and I considered offering to donate all of mine. Another time was when my friend and peer Danny Scharar observed, “If dogs had glasses, they would totally lose those glasses.” Perhaps we are making a return to the absurd. Though perhaps we never made a departure. Dada is in.

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