Relative Discomfort

I think the very important thing to understand about Relative Discomfort up front is that it loves to insult people. All people, all the time, and nothing is sacred. If you have a pet concern that is meaningful to you, be prepared to take in some deep breaths.

There are chapters in here that joke - at length - about feeding alcohol to babies and dogs. Never mind that it'd be fatal, but somehow it's funny. Right at the start of the book it talks about awful people in the world - the racists, the homophobes, the alcoholics ... and the obese. That right there is guaranteed to upset 2/3rds of the readers. If you're heavy, it's not lovely to be thought that you're tossed in with racists and alcoholics because of your size.

I had this same sort of iffy reaction to most of the book. Yes, there were some sections where I laughed out loud because they were funny. The commentary about behavior of sisters or mothers or fathers is often right on. However, there were just as many times where I winced at stereotypes that went beyond funny into offensive.

I watch a lot of comedy shows, and it's always interesting to discuss with friends where the "line of taste" is. At what point is a routine funny, and at what point is it just rude? It's a challenge for comedians to straddle that line, to help us challenge our opinions, to stretch our horizons, to think outside the box. I admire what they do and how they do it. Still, giving yourself the shield of humor should not allow you to continually, repeatedly bash a group just because they exist. Otherwise the KKK could start a weekly humor TV show to voice their opinions.

Still, I feel hesitant to pick on a humor book because its humor is too in-your-face. If everything was off limits, there would be no humor at all. I think it's fair to simply warn people up front. If you like a low key style of humor, this book will probably push too many triggers with its anti-race, anti-gay, anti-etc commentary. If your idea of enjoyment is to laugh at everything and anyone, then you're probably all set!

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