A Sense of Humor

Reading my poem "Noua zeci si noua de probleme" on stage at Cleo Pub, February 1, 2011

Whew folks, I am insanely busy this week with lots of “behind the scenes” stuff, including adding the finishing touches to the new book. I’ll definitely be writing a full post when everything is set and ready to go.

As you can see from the photo, last night I participated in another edition of the Scena Deschisa, reciting a few “poems” I wrote in Romanian language for the crowd. I had a ton of fun and it seemed like everyone in the audience did as well.

I would like to further address my post from yesterday. Instead of another 2,000 word screed, I’ll sum it up in a few points:

  • Michael Noer is renowned for his offensive and idiotic articles. The article he wrote a few years ago advising men not to marry smart, intelligent women was so offensive that it had to be deleted from his website less than 24 hours after it was posted.
  • His blog posts about Romania are not funny. I like comedy. I went to a comedy show last night and recited some humorous poems myself. I like jokes as much as anyone (and yes, the winner of last night’s show even did a joke in English about Romanians – and it was quite funny) but Noer’s posts are not funny.
  • Saying “it’s all just a joke” or “where’s your sense of humor?” is the standard retort used by churls worldwide to excuse racist, misogynistic and otherwise hurtful language and behavior. If it’s funny, we’ll laugh. If we’re not laughing it’s because it’s not funny.
  • When your readership (and not just Yours Truly) begin leaving you comments and trying to contact you (including via Twitter) and you do not even deign to respond, that reflects exactly how much you “respect” your audience. People contradict me and disagree with me all the time on this site and I always do my best to respond.
  • The entire premise of Noer’s “joke” is that Romania is some savage wilderness due to roaming packs of feral dogs. I went to Bucharest 3 or 4 times last year and traveled all over the city on foot. I saw fewer dogs there on the street than I see every day here in Cluj and I saw not one dog who looked or acted aggressive. I don’t give a shit what the mendacious fount of hypocrisy known as the U.S. State Department says about this country – a real journalist would spend 5 minutes doing some research (including my full post on dogs here) before writing an article. The statistics on dog attacks in the United States are easily discoverable online and clearly demonstrate you’re at far greater risk of death and serious injury from canine attacks in America than in Romania.
  • I have yet to ascertain any legitimate reason for Noer to send his journalist to Romania to “stress test” some laptops. It’s far colder and there is far more wintry weather (snow, ice, etc) in New York City (where the journalist is based) than in Romania. Other reputable media (such as CNET, Consumer Reports, etc) manage to stress test laptops all the time without resorting to sending reporters overseas.
  • 24 hours after writing my emails, I have yet to receive even a courtesy response (e.g. “We received your email”) from either party. Enough said.
  • I have no interest in censoring someone’s writing. If people want to write racist garbage about Romania then that’s their right. However I reserve the right to respond and no, hell no I’m not going to take it “lying down”, as it were.

Again folks, apologies for the slow posting. Hope to get back to “normal” around these parts by next week!

6 thoughts on “A Sense of Humor

  1. …as for Sam’s stand-up activities, i just want to say I don’t think we have enough of that. I’m really interested in seeing some good stand-up comedy going, and smart funny takes especially on the political/social issues and non-issues.
    There’s no cure like the one of dr. Humor for these parts. We have several Gura Humorului settlements, some good spirited laughs would be so appropriate.
    A Jon Stewart for our local version of, say, Elena Sarah Palin…yum! This is what TV addicts would need, since forcing them to get out of their house once in a while doesn’t seem to work, as means of refreshing their contacts with reality.


  2. I wish you’d stop throwing the word “racism” at this issue. Show me anywhere in any of the things that Noer wrote in which he slags off Romanians or even implies that Romanians are somehow lesser than anyone else. He doesn’t. he makes remarks about Romania not it’s population. I can understand why Romanians might be pissed off about the belittling of their country, but it’s not racism.

    And now I’ve finally read the article (Forbes will be happy to get more visitors thanks to your obsession with this article, I think), I can’t even really find anything that he says which is not true.
    1. Romania has lowest per-capita income in EU (I don’t know if this is true, I would have guessed Bulgaria was lower, but it could be true. If it’s not the lowest I’m sure it’s the second lowest)
    2. Romania has an average January temperature in the 20s. Now we’ll assume he actually means around -10 here, because it’s an American article and therefore written in measurements that normal people don’t really understand. Therefore I’m guessing, true.
    3. Home to Dracula. Well, as much as London is home to Sherlock Holmes I guess.
    4. Home to Copsa Mica. True (though nobody in their right mind surely would call Copsa Mica a city)
    5. Bucharest has a big problem with feral dogs. True. (I have no idea if 100,000 is correct, but it sounds about right)

    So, what exactly, aside from being unnecessarily snide and attempting humour by slagging off another country, is the problem here?

    I think you need to chill out a bit


    1. The most interesting piece of awesome journalism and, to me, personally, a sign of malevolence (and I think a good answer to your “where is the problem?” question:
      mr. Trickster, Jan 25:
      “Reporter Dodges Packs of Feral Dogs While Testing Computer Equipment”
      the reporter, Jan 26:
      “Part 3: Bucharest turns out to be delightful; neither bears nor dogs attack me; and time with the Dell Streak”

      Kind of Libertatea/Click styley going there, with a few Tricolorul touches, they just didn’t reach the “boobs for the masses” level of eloquence yet (but it should be a natural transition for that kind of ethical mindset).

      And since I made the comparison, one friend of mine saw his house one day as subject of an article in one of the illustrious publications named above, with “incontestable” evidence that there are free-masons or witching rituals going in there. Another friend of mine saw his photo and name as a show-case for how difficult a “bugetar” life was. Neither of them had anything to do with anything implied in those fine pieces of SF literature filled in the wrong library area.

      Now, there are masons in Romania, there also witches, no doubt hosting strange rituals. The life of a “bugetar” can be, no doubt, close to trauma. These are real.
      But making stuff up to mock (i wouldn’t call it “cover”) these things, is plain Draculism (hehe), and people can get offended if the merchandise is supposed to have a serious brand on it, so I’d assume we need to “erase” that in order to reach the irrefutable excuse, but then again, if Forbes’ desire is to be a humorous magazine, I think they completely suck at it. I’d say “go for the tits”, instead :D

      Sorry for the long post, my coffee cup is really huge.


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