One of Us: On ‘Hyperbole and a Half’ and Chicago Bears Mediocrity

By Adam Boretz


I think Yona’s piece from earlier this week hit upon two key aspects of Hyperbole and a Half. In that post, she wrote:

[Allie] Brosh, unlike any writer I’ve read in a long time, doesn’t seem particularly concerned with extracting any deep meaning from her childhood to reveal the meaning of present life.


The fact that the peculiar illustrations “suck” (her word), by the way, already gives us a clue that Brosh is against preciousness.

The first statement, I think, gets to the heart of why Hyperbole and a Half is so beloved — at least why it’s so beloved by me. Brosh is never didactic, never has a “lesson” to teach, never has “all the answers” — about being an adult, about depression, about childhood, even about cake. Instead she just tells us weird stories about her weird life. And that is why so many people can relate to her work — why so many readers feel she understands them. Allie Brosh isn’t offering us wisdom from on high. Allie Brosh is us: weird and sad and struggling and happy and manic and confused and fucked up all at once. And that’s why I want to read everything she writes.

The second point Yona made — about the book’s artwork — had me thinking about Brosh’s illustrations all week. And, try as I might, I couldn’t image any other art working for these stories. If Brosh had drawn realistically, if Brosh had drawn cartoons, if Brosh had drawn anything else, the stories would — at least for me — be less universal, less poignant. There is something about that wonderful pink maniac with the shock of yellow hair — perhaps the very crudeness of the artwork itself — that makes me feel like I’m looking at a drawing of myself.

As per usual the Bears are striving for mediocrity — having lost the first three games of the season, we’ve won two in a row and could even our record at 3-3 with a win against Detroit this weekend. If you’re a Bears fan and excited about this, I feel I must ask a simple question: What’s the fucking point?

We’re not going to win the division. We’re not going to make the playoffs. We are not good. We are a very bad football team. And every time we win, it’s just means (a) shittier draft picks and (b) more Jay Cutler next season.

Thank god I’m not watching this.

3 Comments on “One of Us: On ‘Hyperbole and a Half’ and Chicago Bears Mediocrity”

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