Saturday, May 30, 2015

Humor in two genders or two languages

"Do you think you’d have your same sense of humor, if you’d been a woman from the start?"

I shrugged. "I don’t know. Maybe not. Maybe the humor is what I needed to survive."

"I didn’t think she was all that funny before," said Tori a little self-consciously. "Actually. When you were a boy? Your jokes always seemed so panicked, or something."

"Maybe," said Sarah, "this is your original sense of humor? And what you had before was the replica?"

I knew what she was getting at, but it made my head hurt. It reminded me of something James Thurber once said at a party, in Paris, when a woman told him how much funnier his work was in French. "I know," said Thurber. "It does tend to lose something in the original."
Jennifer Finney Boylan, I’m Looking Through You (New York: Broadway Books, 2008), pp. 244-45. (Page break between “was in” and “French.”)

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