About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (sort of a bad wordplay on Orwell and machismo) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear language'), the umbrella of several of my literary projects in Dutch. This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Are you a little lost? This link will take you right back to my home page.

Friday, March 18, 2016

20 people I admire (VIII): Zack Parsons

Who? Internet comedy writer who started out as one of the main writers at SomethingAwful, then moved into writing novels.

Why? Parsons is likely one of the least well-known people on my list. Nonetheless, a decade ago his writing opened me up to the fact that you can find a comedy angle to nearly everything there is, especially the sometimes depressing world of early-aughts Internet. Parsons came from a place of essentially understanding the tragedy of pathetic MySpace pages, low-cost pornography or the shallow universe that C-list celebrities inhabit. In addition, he’s a smart and versatile writer who has an eerie knack for adopting and then doubling down on his imitation of the minds of people he mocks.

What resonates with me? Parsons can kick down without being totally mean about it. In one joke, he can both recognize that poor American whites are victims of a perverse political lie and simultaneously eviscerate their horrible racism. It takes skill to do that. Also, Parsons remains the creator of one of my favourite lines of comedy ever written: “There are two kinds of people in this world: people who hate or fear circus clowns, and people who are circus clowns.”

Best bit? Reportedly his novel ‘Liminal States’ is pretty good and very eerie, but out of the work I know him best for, I would say his soul-crushing reviews under the label ‘Horrors of Porn’ manage to capture his spirited vein of black comedy best.

Next up: Hadley Freeman, American journalist.