Funny Games


Michael Haneke’s ‘Funny Games’*

Bored on your day off? Let’s play a game! Check out two blogs I like that recently came up with ways to channel their scathing social critique into fun li’l brainteasers. I call these the GOODREADS GAME and the WORD VOMIT WORDFIND.


“The rules are simple,” writes Sarah of Omskivar Reviews. “Go to Goodreads and search for a book. Then see how long it takes for somebody to post a review that either completely misses the point, or shows that the reader failed to notice the obvious.”

You could time yourself, but it would probably take longer to download a timer program than to find reviews that make you laugh — particularly if you choose your favorite titles.

irisaustinTwo examples. First, Iris Murdoch’s “A Severed Head,” a dark romantic comedy that — take note! — does not feature time-traveling spies, James Bond-style convertibles or ’90s catchphrases. Writes Kim Johnson: “Like a lot of things from the 60s, [it] feels very very dated.** Strangely, I did think it could make a good movie, kind of a less campy Austin Powers flick.” (1 star)

I wonder what other books Kim would turn into “less campy Austin Powers flick[s]”? If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler? The Third Policeman? (Both of which are excellent sources for this game, BTW.)

LadyOracleNext, Margaret Atwood’s “Lady Oracle,” reviewed by Catherine: “The whole book made me feel really impatient and uncomfortable. I felt kind of sick and nervous the whole time I was reading it, as if doom was just around the corner. That probably says a lot for the power of Atwood’s writing, I guess.” (2 stars)

I guess.


The Internet is nothing if not lousy with… let’s say… “far-reaching and comprehensive personal musings.” Emphasis on “comprehensive.” Armondikov of Spherical Bullshit has found a way to turn the most “comprehensive” and opaque of these into delightful puzzles. “You can get some great highlights by picking a word you just know will be in there and doing a Ctrl-F on it.” Words to search for: “’Blacks,’ ‘Jews,’ ‘science,’ ‘women,’ ‘Hitler,’ that sort of thing.”

machiavelliI recommend the term “Machiavelli,” as in this excerpt from a screed called “Orgy of the Will”: “Getting a woman is very different from keeping her. Here, perhaps, Machiavelli was wrong… Getting her is normal and highly laudable… Expending any great effort to keep her, on the other hand, is ignoble; a sign that you are dubious about your chances of getting another, perhaps a better one in future.”

Wait, what did Machiavelli actually say? I will ponder this all day. Rainy Saturday doldrums, conquered!

Back to the garbage on Monday.

* Did you see Funny Games? I could never see this movie. And yet Haneke made it twice!


2 responses to “Funny Games

  1. “For my part I consider that it is better to be adventurous than cautious, because fortune is a woman, and if you wish to keep her under it is necessary to beat and ill-use her; and it is seen that she allows herself to be mastered by the adventurous rather than by those who go to work more coldly. She is, therefore, always, woman-like, a lover of young men, because they are less cautious, more violent, and with more audacity command her.”

    -The Prince, chapter 25

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