We Learn Nothing (eBook)
In We Learn Nothing, satirical cartoonist Tim Kreider turns his funny, brutally honest eye to the dark truths of the human condition, asking big questions about human-sized problems: What if you survive a brush with death and it doesnt change you? Why do we fall in love with people we dont even like? What do you do when a friend becomes obsessed with a political movement and wont let you ignore it? How do you react when someone youve known for years unexpectedly changes genders?
Irreverent yet earnest, he shares deeply personal experiences and readily confesses his vices betraying his addiction to lovesickness, for example, and the gray area that he sees between the bold romantic gesture and the illegal act of stalking.
In these pages, we witness Kreiders tight-knit crew struggle to deal with a pathologically lying friend who wont ask for help. We watch him navigate a fraught relationship with a lonely uncle in jail whoas he degenerates into madness continues to plead for the support of his conflicted nephew. And we cringe as he gets outed as a moby at a Tea Party rally. In moments like these, we cant help but ask ourselves: How far would we go for our own family members, and when is someone simply too far gone to save? Are there truly bad people, and if so, should we change them? With a perfect combination of humor and pathos, these essays, peppered with Kreiders signature cartoons, leave us with newfound wisdom and a unique prism through which to examine our own chaotic journeys through life.
Uncompromisingly candid, sometimes mercilessly so, these comically illustrated essays are rigorous exercises in self-awareness and self-reflection. These are the conversations you have only with best friends or total strangers, late at night over drinks, near closing time.
About the Author
Tim Kreider’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Film Quarterly, The Comics Journal, and Nerve.com. His popular comic strip The Pain—When Will It End? ran in alternative weeklies and has been has been collected in three books by Fantagraphics. He divides his time between New York City and the Chesapeake Bay area.
Praise for We Learn Nothing…
"Tim Kreider's writing is heartbreaking, brutal and hilarious—usually at the same time. He can do in a few pages what I need several hours of screen time and tens of millions to accomplish. And he does it better. Come to think of it, I'd rather not do a blurb. I am beginning to feel bad about myself."
"A remarkable collection . . . I found myself nodding in agreement and wondering how [Tim Kreider] could so consistently express my feelings, and express them so much better than I ever could."
“In a political atmosphere as angry as this, [Kreider's] oblique, self-deprecating commentary may be the only angle to which party loyalists on either side are likely to respond. We Learn Nothing should be their required reading.”
“Kreider is as compelling a writer as he is a visual satirist. His essays tend toward the ‘elegiac,’ as he puts it—something that cannot be said of his cartoons—but the same delightfully brutal honesty underlies both. Kreider’s descriptions are often simultaneously surprising and resonant . . . self-effacing and funny.”
“Amazing . . . Any thinking person with a sense of humor will find We Learn Nothing provocative and delightful, reminiscent, in varying ways, of David Foster Wallace, James Thurber, David Sedaris, and Susan Sontag.”
-Jennifer Finney Boylan
“Kreider is a superb essayist, a funny and fluent storyteller who wears his cultural literacy lightly . . . To read “The Creature Walks Among Us,” “The Czar’s Daughter,” “Escape from Pony Island,” or “An Insult to the Brain” is to appreciate a mordant but affectionate observer of life’s rich pageant, and a craftsman who almost never puts a word wrong.”
“Kreider locates the right simile and the pith of situations as he carefully catalogues humanity’s inventive and manifold ways of failing.”
“Earnest, well-turned personal essays about screw-ups without an ounce of sanctimony—a tough trick.”
"Tim Kreider may be the most subversive soul in America and his subversions—by turns public and intimate, political and cultural—are just what our weary, mixed-up nation needs. The essays in We Learn Nothing are for anybody who believes it's high time for some answers, damn it."
"Whether he is expressing himself in highly original cartoons that are hilarious visual poems, or in prose that exposes our self-delusions by the way he probes his own experience with candor, Tim Kreider is a writer-artist who brilliantly understands that every humorist at his best is a liberator. Because he is irreverent, makes us laugh, ruffles the feathers of the pretentious and the pompous, and keeps us honest, We Learn Nothing is a pleasure from its first page to the last."