Your writing style is central to your blog. It sets the tone. It enhances (or detracts from) your message. What kind of readers do you want to attract? What kind of interaction are you looking for? What impression do you want to leave with readers? What do you want to add to the culture, the community?
Admittedly, my goal in blog writing is rarely (ever?) to be funny. But I appreciate clever humor. One of the permabloggers on a large group blog I own is downright hilarious and giftedly funny. Jordan Cooper of NotaProBlog has combined legitimate information and humor with comic genius. Humor is a great writing tool when it fits the story and when the author has skill. But since I generally lack the latter, I stick to straight, informative content. If something I write is funny (and it happens, on occasion) it’s more a matter of topic or circumstance than design.
Still, learning new writing skills is good for everyone — particularly for bloggers. When I happened upon a guest post about humorous writing on the great blog of an acquaintance, I dove in, hoping to get some new insights.
The guest author in question is accomplished. The post has been Tweeted and Digged (dug?) to oblivion. All the comments I read were rave reviews. The ideas presented are, apparently, universally adored and hailed.
But I still don’t like them. I’m willing to go out on a limb here and be the lone internet curmudgeon on this type of humor writing.
As a disclaimer, I may be a 45-year-old, work-at-home mom who goes to church and knits loom hat for humanitarian service, but I’m not a complete prude. My husband (of nearly 25 years) and I mildly make out in front of our kids to drive them nuts. I love sex and I am so open with my kids that one of my daughters had this exchange with the doctor at her annual physical when she was a teen:
Doc: So, has your mom talked to you about the facts of life?
Daughter: If she’d just stop talking about it!
So before you go off and tell me I need to loosen up and relax, you might consider that I’m doing just fine, thank you.
Still, I sincerely think it is an affront to civility to constantly throw sex and body parts and bodily functions around for shock value and a nervous giggle. Sure, it gets an easy laugh, but it’s not the most clever or intelligent tactic ever invented. Seinfeld was much funnier when he worked the humor as a clean standup comic (yes, I’m that old) than when he started doing entire television episodes about masturbation.
And, no, it’s not just the Amish who wouldn’t mind leaving some personal issues in personal spaces. Tons of people do. But they are hesitant to speak up. Those who push cultural boundaries are infamous for mocking and belittling those who encourage a standard in discourse (and behavior and dress and…). The ad hominem attacks are standard fare and pretty predictable.
Knowing that crazies like me are out here — and I contend out here in great numbers — consider that using the “fart method” to engage bloggers will undoubtedly alienate at least as many.
You can probably guess that I’m also pretty bored with all the mommy-bloggers-that-are-oh-so-nurturing-and-yet-so-hip-and-cool-that-they-can’t-stop-dropping-f-bombs and the i’m-so-sex-and-the-city-that-i-need-to-discuss-pubic-hair-with-the-entire-blogosphere blogs. I mean, seriously, like, pick up a book and learn a new word or something. Whatev.
In reading the seven humorous writing ideas in the post, it seemed to me that it was really the same advice, repeated seven times with mild variation. So, I’ve reworded the advice in that frame — noting that I really wish we’d get back to humor of intellect and thought and circumstance, rather than just potty talk.
Write Like a Pubescent Boy in a Locker Room
- Make fun of yourself by talking about your own sex and/or body parts and/or bodily functions.
- Think like an adolescent boy by talking about sex and/or body parts and/or bodily functions whenever humanly possible.
- Write the opposite of what people expect by turning everything into a discussion of sex and/or body parts and/or bodily functions.
- Use the funniest words — like pretty much any words about sex and/or body parts and/or bodily functions repeated endlessly.
- Find creative alternatives to curse words about sex and/or body parts and/or bodily functions.
- Use exaggerated analogies and examples, particularly when discussing sex and/or body parts and/or bodily functions.
- Write about topics that make people uncomfortable, like sex and/or body parts and/or bodily functions.
Rinse and repeat.