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View Full Version : I've Got the Funny Aneurysm Blues


AZ_Dawn
02-27-2009, 01:56 AM
Chances are, I'm worrying too much yet again, but then there's a chance that this might be a legitimate worry.

I've got a couple of trickster pirates: a young, unwise trickster and a wise old trickster. They're both jerks. The young trickster wants to drop a pregnant cat on someone's head as revenge for a slight. The old trickster thinks this a bad idea, especially after what happened to the other cat. What happened to the other cat? Well, the young trickster slipped some rum into kitty's water dish for the heck of it. The cat was a mean drunk and started assaulting the crew, one of which killed the cat to make it stop. Several crewmen are still mad at him.

It was supposed to be dark humor, plus it would establish that the youngster doesn't generally think things through. Fun for me and the reader, right?

Then I saw the thread about the cat abuser who put the cat-beatting video on YouTube. The funny go bye-bye for me.

Pirates are not nice people, but mine are supposed to be minor jerks. I didn't want them to be monsters! I might still be able to use the pregnant cat, since they come up with a plan that's a lot gentler to her, but the death of the other cat...:(

Advice, please? Thanks.

KTC
02-27-2009, 01:58 AM
write your story. real-life atrocities are frowned upon...what you're doing here is not.

sunandshadow
02-27-2009, 02:33 AM
You could probably think of something else funnier than killing the cat - like, the captain made the two tricksters catch it in a sack and they got all scratched up doing it. Or the cat chased the first mate overboard, which was funny, but then the first mate revoked the tricksters rum rations for the next month and made them scrub the whole deck with toothbrushes. Or they chased the cat into a room and left it there, but the cat trashed everything in the room and the room's owner was mad, etc.

Matera the Mad
02-27-2009, 05:12 AM
Funnier when the cat gets the last laugh, IM(eow)HO

dpaterso
02-27-2009, 10:54 AM
This idea be not appealin' to me, in the same way the thought o' watchin' that cat abuse video didn't appeal to me. Methinks ye be havin' to make yer mind up whether ye be writin' funny, or writin' gritty bloody reality where animals are gutted and fed to the fishes. Ah-haaarrr.

-Derek

DaddyCat
02-27-2009, 01:59 PM
Sailors of the era, pirate or otherwise, valued onboard cats for their vermin control abilities. My gut says either forego the cat killing entirely, or have the killer suffer disgusting consequences at the hands of the captain or crew.

backslashbaby
02-27-2009, 02:43 PM
This is an amusing predicament (sorry, lol!) I like all the cat stuff! OK, so they need to be angry with the young one? I like what the others have suggested... cat antics but the drunk cat doesn't die. Make it end with a very trashed room/rations ruined, or a broken-legged mouser, or similar and the others could still be quite angry with him, I think :)

Edit: Oooo, a broken tail slammed in a door? Been there, done that ( :( ), and poor kitty does just fine later.

Cyia
02-27-2009, 02:59 PM
Sorry, doesn't even rate as dark humor. It's not humorous.

*Pudge*
02-27-2009, 03:41 PM
No - I can't see the humour (I spell it the English way) either, who's your audience?

I don't get it - Americans speak English, but spell American - Weird.

KTC
02-27-2009, 03:46 PM
You would have to read the excerpt before you could judge if this is humourous or not. It could be very humourous...there is no way of telling by what the OP posted here.

*Pudge*
02-27-2009, 03:54 PM
You would have to read the excerpt before you could judge if this is humourous or not. It could be very humourous...there is no way of telling by what the OP posted here.

I meant in killing kitties for kicks - check out the avi! I love kitties.

KTC
02-27-2009, 03:55 PM
I meant in killing kitties for kicks - check out the avi! I love kitties.

Oops. Gottcha.


Kevin, registered kitty killer.

*Pudge*
02-27-2009, 04:00 PM
Oops. Gottcha.


Kevin, registered kitty killer.

No worries.

I'm sure the OP's writing is / can be funny, but there must be others ways to show them as idiots.

Then again - it's your story.

Wayne K
02-27-2009, 05:32 PM
I love dark humor and dead animals really goes against it for me. It's just an opinion.

RJK
02-27-2009, 05:38 PM
I have no fondness for cats, but I find no entertainment in harming helpless victims, whether they be weaklings or cats. It's just a perpetuation of the schoolyard bullies having fun at the weaker children's expense.
I do, on the other hand enjoy watching bullies getting their comeupance.

selkn.asrai
02-27-2009, 06:09 PM
OP,

Have you ever seen The Brothers Grimm? There's a scene in which a kitten is kicked into a torture device and is chopped to pieces. A piece of its flesh lands on a French general's cheek, and he tastes it and says, "Hm. Sweet." Sure, this likely an instance to show the French's bloodlusting, heartless and imperialistic actions at that point in history, but:

No one I know of really found it funny, and I know plenty of people who avoid an otherwise entertaining film because of it.

Killing animals solely for humor is an exercise in futility. The likelihood is, most won't find the cruelty amusing. A dead dog is the catalyst for the plot in Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. From your post, it wouldn't seem your animal abuse fits this description--there are plenty of other ways to show that this young pirate is foolhardy and impulsive. Otherwise, it might be considered unnecessary, and thus, disturbing to the reader.

DaddyCat is also v. right. Cats were valued upon ships for vermin control, which helped maintain the sailors' health. Killing a mouser may v. well be historically inaccurate.

DaddyCat
02-27-2009, 06:39 PM
Disclaimer: I'll put my anti-cruelty and cat-loving credentials up against anyone.

I think we're all feeling a bit rubbed raw by that YouTube thing, and reading things into the OP's brief descriptions. I agree with everyone that killing the cat sounds like a bad idea, but let's just consider the possibilities for having it (possibly) work.

IF the OP is not targetting a YA audience,

IF the author chose one scenario (pregnant cat or drunk cat) and omitted the other (I would not find a cat-hating bastard sympathetic in any way),

IF the cat's death were accidental during attempts to restrain it,

IF the cat's death were not depicted in a cruel or terrifying way,

and IF the perp suffered the real wrath of his comrades over it,

THEN such a scene could be written in a way that wouldn't offend or backfire. That's an awful lot of IF's, so as the screenwriters say, "Save the cat!"

*Pudge*
02-27-2009, 06:44 PM
Disclaimer: I'll put my anti-cruelty and cat-loving credentials up against anyone.

I think we're all feeling a bit rubbed raw by that YouTube thing, and reading things into the OP's brief descriptions. I agree with everyone that killing the cat sounds like a bad idea, but let's just consider the possibilities for having it (possibly) work.

IF the OP is not targetting a YA audience,

IF the author chose one scenario (pregnant cat or drunk cat) and omitted the other (I would not find a cat-hating bastard sympathetic in any way),

IF the cat's death were accidental during attempts to restrain it,

IF the cat's death were not depicted in a cruel or terrifying way,

and IF the perp suffered the real wrath of his comrades over it,

THEN such a scene could be written in a way that wouldn't offend or backfire. That's an awful lot of IF's, so as the screenwriters say, "Save the cat!"


I thought this too, but then wondered how when trying to accomplish all of those things it could still be humourous. Difficult.

ejket
02-27-2009, 08:04 PM
I think there's a simple rule that covers this situation: abusing the helpless is a flaw of character; if the author seems not to realize this, the flaw is on the author.

MumblingSage
02-27-2009, 09:36 PM
To paraphrase Crowley from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens: "They'll all have miraculous near-escapes. It's more fun that way."

In brief, it might be more unadulteratedly funny if you can find a way for the cat to survive.

Maybe the cat gets tossed overboard but safely swims ashore? Maybe they knock it out and tie it up until it comes around (a little anthropomorphic, I guess)? Toss it in a lifeboat 'til it's sober?

AZ_Dawn
02-27-2009, 11:23 PM
Thanks, guys! This is all good advice. Even the harsh stuff; I needed to hear that.

Sorry, doesn't even rate as dark humor. It's not humorous.
Yeah, I'm starting to realize that now. It's rather disturbing that I needed an abuse case to realize it. :(


You would have to read the excerpt before you could judge if this is humourous or not. It could be very humourous...there is no way of telling by what the OP posted here.

At this stage, it's just an idea, so it won't be a great hardship for me to change things. Besides, the drunk cat incident was going to be mentioned, not shown. And yes, whether the cat lived or died, there would've been consequences for Mr. Young-and-Foolish. :whip:


IF the author chose one scenario (pregnant cat or drunk cat) and omitted the other (I would not find a cat-hating bastard sympathetic in any way)

I could keep the pregnant cat trick, since in the end the old trickster talked him into a plan that would only inconvenience the poor mamma. But the drunk cat will have to be changed or dropped.

The Lonely One
02-28-2009, 12:52 AM
Eh, I've had and cared for cats since I was a kid and I could see this being funny. On south park the other night pip watched a girl kill like 20 cats. Snapped their fake-looking paper-mache necks. Didn't phase me cuz it isn't real.

But think about what you're trying to say with the cat thing. What's the overall feeling you want readers to leave with? Will the killing achieve that? Will it hinder that goal? Cut or embellish accordingly.

AZ_Dawn
03-03-2009, 03:01 AM
Crud! The drunk cat idea just took another level in unfunny! Some guy stuffed their cat into a bong! (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29469929) Why me, and why the poor cats?

dpaterso
03-03-2009, 04:14 AM
Oddly enough, if someone had stuffed another person into their bong, we'd laugh. Maybe that's the kind of sick humor that would work in your story -- maybe the pirates *try* to harm the cat but it backfires and they injure or kill one of their own instead. Like stuffing the cat into a cannon for a laugh, only someone gets careless with the gunpowder or the taper and loses an eye or some fingers while the cat crawls out the barrel and scampers away. Find the funny and play on it.

-Derek

AZ_Dawn
03-04-2009, 02:59 AM
Oddly enough, if someone had stuffed another person into their bong, we'd laugh.
If I'd seen something like this in a Loony Toons cartoon instead of the news, I probably would've laughed, too. (Naturally, Sylvester wouldn't get stuffed in a bong.)


Like stuffing the cat into a cannon for a laugh, only someone gets careless with the gunpowder or the taper and loses an eye or some fingers while the cat crawls out the barrel and scampers away.

Seeing that the old trickster is also the master gunner and wouldn't trust the young trickster to be a powder monkey...:e2drown: Then again, I should keep something like this in mind for less kindly rival crews.


Find the funny and play on it.

Very good advice! Thanks! :Thumbs:

MetalDog
03-04-2009, 03:22 AM
People are seriously strange when it comes to things like this. They'll laugh their heads off at real human beings dying in humourous ways (Darwin Awards), but if you kill a fictional kittie they lose all sense of humour =)

You can't kill teh fluffies and make it funny with any ease. The only time I recall it being done 100% successfully was in A Fish Called Wanda, where an animal loving assassin was trying to kill an old lady, but every time he tried he killed one of her collection of little dogs instead, which upset him a lot.

Toothpaste
03-04-2009, 03:41 AM
I think the problem with the joke (with the killing the kitty) is that the killing isn't the punchline. The punchline is, drunk kitty is a mean drunk kitty. The punchline is watching kitty go all crazy. After all the fun, the kitty . . . is killed. That's a wet blanket, not a punchline.

You can make killing kitties funny, as like MetalDog said, if it's the death part that's the punchline. If each time a pirate tried to play a practical joke, a cat is somehow sent overboard. It is also funny if it happens over and over so as to just seem absurd. One dead kitty, urgh. Many kitties kicking the bucket, the same way, over and over, "Jeez man, we lost another one!", that's funny. In a dark dark way.

Note, I would highly advise however not putting this into an MG or YA. This is more adult in humour, fyi.

AZ_Dawn
03-06-2009, 02:09 AM
I think the problem with the joke (with the killing the kitty) is that the killing isn't the punchline. The punchline is, drunk kitty is a mean drunk kitty. The punchline is watching kitty go all crazy. After all the fun, the kitty . . . is killed. That's a wet blanket, not a punchline.
Good point. Thanks!


Note, I would highly advise however not putting this into an MG or YA. This is more adult in humour, fyi.

I'm not quite writing for the kids, but I did want to make it so their parents won't feeling like they had to hide the book from them. Definitely need to drop the dead cat angle.