“Kreider locates the right simile and the pith of situations as he carefully catalogues humanity’s inventive and manifold ways of failing” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
In We Learn Nothing, satirical cartoonist Tim Kreider turns his funny, brutally honest eye to the dark truths of the human condition, asking big questions about human-sized problems: What if you survive a brush with death and it doesn’t change you? Why do we fall in love with people we don’t even like? How do you react when someone you’ve known for years unexpectedly changes genders?
With a perfect combination of humor and pathos, these essays, peppered with Kreider’s signature cartoons, leave us with newfound wisdom and a unique prism through which to examine our own chaotic journeys through life. These are the conversations you have only with best friends or total strangers, late at night over drinks, near closing time.
This edition also includes the sensationally popular essay “The Busy Trap,” as seen in the New York Times.
Political cartoonist Kreider's humorous collection of personal essays begins with his near-fatal neck stabbing; his failure to learn enduring life lessons from this traumatic event provides the book's title, tone, and argument. Throughout, Kreider (Twilight of the Assholes) locates the right simile and the pith of situations as he carefully catalogues humanity's inventive and manifold ways of failing: a secretive friend lives and dies behind a gigantic front of lies; another relocates to Missouri to prepare for peak oil Armageddon; and a delusional uncle with a knack for heinous crime expires in prison. Kreider's shortcomings in romance, friendship, empathy for Tea Partiers, life itself are also recounted. The essays that contradict the book's title prove especially strong. In the moving "Sister World," adoptee Kreider reveals how meeting his biological sisters teaches him about the depths and degrees of relatedness, and how to handle uncharacteristic profusions of love. In "An Insult to the Brain," Kreider reads Tristram Shandy aloud to his convalescing mother, and the novel's lessons on tedium and time, and formal eccentricities, bleed into his essay. His piece on the Tea Party, "When They're Not Assholes," sums up human nature: "The truth is, there are not two kinds of people. There's only one: the kind that loves to divide up into gangs who hate each other's guts."
There is nothing more to say than Kreider gets it, and “it” is completely unexplainable- which makes for a few hours of thoroughly enjoyable belligerent honesty.