Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Memewar: "Obituaries"

I've always enjoyed the short pieces that you find towards the backs of magazines. Not only are they manageable for time-pressed college students, they tend to be concentrated versions of what the rest of the magazine is all about. For Memewar, the fake "Obituaries" follow the issue's theme, though sometimes in roundabout ways, are humorous if sometimes in questionable taste, and will sometimes pursue points made in full-length pieces.

Issue 12: Childhood has obituaries for Hobbes (killed in a tragic sledding accident, survived by Calvin), Pope Benedict XVI (a wishful thinking obituary praising him for cracking down on child molestation), and "Peter Pan" with a picture of Michael Jackson (he's an odd mix of the character and the rock star). You have an icon of childhood, a man who ought to be , and the boy who never grew up/a very childish man. Behind the "newspaper clippings" are dinosaur magnets and a hand-drawn picture "for mom + dad."

Issue 11: Games has obituaries for the host of Jeopardy! (key nouns are described as they would be on the show), Tiger Woods (the theme mirrors that of an article that describes the wide gulf of difference between expecations of male and female athletes), Karvelg the Orc Warrior (goes with an article about economics in World of Warcraft), and Mr. John Boddy (last seen with Misters Green, Plum, & Mustard, and Misses Scarlett, Peacock, and White). There's a ticket to the Special Olympics in the back ground to reflect an article about disabled athletes.

The "Obituaries" are amusing enough on their own, but I actually didn't realize that each one relates to a different piece in the magazine until a third reading. I think that, along with providing a little humor to allevieate the effects of the creative pieces (why is so much creative writing depressing, anyway?), the "Obituaries" help bring a kind of closure to the magazine as a whole. Just like the concluding paragraph of an essay, it brings up themes from what has come before and juxtaposes them to give the reader a better sense of the overall picture.

--Sarah Lawrence

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