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We Learn Nothing: Essays and Cartoons by Tim…
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We Learn Nothing: Essays and Cartoons

by Tim Kreider

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194793,585 (3.92)4
A "New York Times" political cartoonist and writer presents a collection of his most popular essays and drawings about life and government hypocrisy.

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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
The Soul Toupee: the part of ourselves that we try to keep secret, but is glaringly obvious to others! ( )
  jtp146 | Nov 13, 2017 |
A collection of essays by political cartoonist and essayist Tim Kreider. The essays include stories about the time he almost died after being stabbed in the throat, his uncle's mental illness and criminal past, the gender reassignment surgery of a long time friend and discovering his birth mother and half-sisters and finally feeling genetically connected to other people. In turns funny and poignant these essays will make you think about your own life and the strategies you use to make it through.
The book includes some of Krreder's cartoons which I had difficulty reading -- the conversation bubbles were hand lettered and tiny. Recommended. ( )
1 vote VioletBramble | Apr 28, 2017 |
"Fourteen years ago, I was stabbed in the throat. This is kind of a long story and less interesting than it sounds....After my unsuccessful murder I wasn't unhappy for an entire year."
This first essay, Reprieve, is a short reflection on how his outlook on life changed afterward. His first year was a feeling of euphoric escape from death, but this becomes submerged by the everydayness of life. That one was my favourite.
Family relationships, friendships with current friends, defriended friends, lost friends, a transgendered friend are examined closely and at times with painful honesty. Others are more political. In "When They're Not Assholes" he tries to counter his instinctive acerbic dislike of the Tea Partiers by deciding to 'just listen'. But "What dooms our best efforts to cultivate empathy and compassion is always, of course, other people." Oh yes, exactly!
These are funny and often touching stories -- I think that his intelligent humour is what helps him to learn everything, including that sometimes he learns nothing. ( )
1 vote TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
Some time in the late 2000s Tim Kreider changed from one of the most terrifyingly acerbic and confrontational political cartoonists around into the best possible example of compassionate, self-deprecating reason. If that sounds like a letdown, it's not: in every one of the short essays in "We Learn Nothing," he's engaging, challenging, and frequently hilarious. And the microscopically reproduced drawings throughout are just about the funniest I've seen in my life.

"Fourteen years ago, I was stabbed in the throat," he begins. "This is kind of a long story and less interesting than it sounds..." These are essays in the vein of Montaigne, looking at themes in his own life and trying, through words, thought and feeling, to come up with some sort of conclusion from them. On the way, we meet his eccentric friends (who also appear in the cartoons), spend a lot of time drinking too much with said eccentric friends, have moderate but surprising adventures such as attending a Tea Party rally, and read "Tristram Shandy," a book whose 18th-century author seems to have been a precursory mix of Terry Gilliam and Neil Gaiman. (The essay on Shandy ends with an emotional punch that is all the more powerful for being so unexpected.) Every one of these stories somehow leaves one feeling wiser than before, despite the fact that Kreider sees himself as, and possibly is, an incredible fuck-up. That maybe we're all fuck-ups, that maybe, in the deepest and most profound sense, *it simply doesn't matter,* is just one of the metaphysical insights that this book makes issue from the brain like sparks. ( )
1 vote john.cooper | Oct 19, 2015 |
Kreider is eloquent. He makes you nod and cry and laugh out loud. He makes you love him. His words are perfect. ( )
  anotherwise | Feb 10, 2014 |
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