Things You Hear on NPR: What Could Be Funnier than Losing Your Soul?

July 22, 2014

Over the weekend NPR played an interview between NPR’s Arun Rath and novelist Douglas Coupland (pronounced “Copeland”).  Coupland’s latest novel doesn’t exactly sound healthy for human consumption:

RATH: . . . I don’t quite know how I feel about this book—

COUPLAND: (Laughs)

RATH: —Meaning that it’s hilarious but it’s—it’s three hundred pages of vulgarity, almost without lapse.

. . .

COUPLAND: . . . One of the reasons I wrote the book is just ’cause things have been sort of grim in a lot of ways. And there’s sort of this epidemic of earnestness. And why not just go against that trend and write something that might actually damage a person’s soul if they read it?

RATH: So—(Laughs) Thank you for damaging my soul?

COUPLAND: What’s the opposite of a vitamin? It’s like—

RATH: (Laughs) A detrimin?

COUPLAND: No, it’s like one of those hamburgers that has like chicken with like two meat patties as a bun—

RATH: A Big Mac?

COUPLAND: It is that.

RATH: Douglas Coupland, it’s been wild pleasure speaking with you.

COUPLAND: Oh, thanks so much.

RATH: Douglas Coupland’s new novel is called Worst Person Ever.

Maybe I’m taking them too seriously—too earnestly, if you will.  Certainly they’re joking around throughout—listen for yourself if you want the full interview and their tone of voice.  And while Amazon and other places describe it as “A deeply unworthy book about a dreadful human being with absolutely no redeeming social value,” the book itself may have quite a lot of redeeming social value; a book about just how awful a “pile of pure id” is may have both the intention and the effect of persuading people at least to try not to be like that.

But I’m not the one who suggested that Coupland’s character might rub off on the reader and make him a worse person; he is.

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