Starting a Joke with the Punch Line

I want to talk about my favorite joke, which is a famous joke, but if you haven’t heard it, its “famous name” constitutes a spoiler. So, instead, a link! Reading it is not as good as having it told well (could John McCain tell it well? I have my doubts), but aficionados refer to It by its punch line (see), and once I start doing that I’ve ruined it for you. Another internet summary, that I don’t have time to find now, refers to It as a “shaggy dog story” and implies that the joke is one of those deliberately “bad” jokes whose telling constitutes a kind of prank on the listeners, that its point is simply to subject them to all that windup before sliding an anticlimax right past them. That’s such a stupid evaluation I can only feel contempt for it. In fact, the joke is full of terror and pity. Ultimately it is nothing but wisdom.

I would have thought that the connection between It and the story of Batman completely obvious, but The Google suggests that this may not be the case. (You need to have read or heard the joke before clicking on that last link!) Because, dude! that kid is obviously Bruce Wayne! And at the end, after all of that preparation and coping and forging himself into a mighty weapon, that singleness of purpose and abnegation, he is nothing but fumbling, inarticulate hurt.

This blog entry in honor of the 12:01 showing of The Dark Knight, for which I now depart. I don’t know if they pay me to blog about superhero movies, as opposed to superhero comics, so I don’t know if I’ll have anything to say afterwards. But just in case: the Watchmen trailer is somewhat promising. Apparently, Dark-Knight-goers get to see it on the big screen.


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