This issue celebrates dirty funny, e.g. bathroom humor, disfigurement, internet porn, genitalia, an aborted fetus, sodomy jokes, piercing mishaps, unusual orgasms, Beckett and Whitman; in essence, something for everyone. If you’re not amused by your own gas then you probably won’t laugh at some of these stories. Then again, you may not get what language we speak here on Earth. Guest-editor Eric Spitznagel distinguishes between run-of-the-bowl boring poo jokes and true poo humor: those that float or sink on their literary merit. Ahem.
The best stories transcend the perverted and the absurd with compelling storytelling. Aaron Burch’s “The Pain of Humiliation” is not merely about a hemorrhoid but about the social etiquette between couples when a hemorrhoid is the source of discomfort. To disclose or to lie? An age-old problem. My favorite, Peter Bognami’s “The Last Grapple,” concerns identical twin brothers who must wrestle one more time for their mutual love. But the good wrestling brother already has the girl and the narrator, the poor wrestler who sings the body electric, has been “concussed” one too many times. There’s some real brotherly moments there. Katie Schwartz, on the other hand, introduces us to Pippa, her aborted fetus, with whom she has maintained an amicable relationship: “We’re proud of the choice we made. Pippa wanted the street cred of an aborted fetus.” Matt Craig drops us in on the eve of the revolution, when Che and Fidel conspiratorially wax fecal over Che’s corn-laden stool.
Most of the thirty stories are three or four pages and the “parties responsible” (i.e. contributors notes) are collectively briefer and more laugh-out-loud funny. They’re just having good dirty fun.