If there’s one thing McSweeney’s Internet Tendency has reliably provided its readership over the years it’s high-brow literary tropes and figures tossed blindly into unlikely, low-rent modern scenarios. While ArtsEmerson prepares to welcome the stage production of Metamorphosis to the Paramount Center it occurred to me how many times Kafka has been the subject of a McSweeney’s dispatch. Whether he’s recast as a summer camp attendee, or an office manager or an amusement park employee, there is something about plucking Kafka out of his historical context and placing him anywhere else that is inherently funny. Compiled below, for your pleasure, are the top McSweeney’s entries where Franz Kafka makes an appearance.
“Kafka pilots his motorcycle away from The Stumble. He said the wrong things again and scared the chicks away. Hunched over the handlebars, goggles strapped on, he sublimates with speed. My scarf is whipping above my head. Like a man cut free from a noose.”
“I’m not quite sure how things work here, but I was made to sign a contract and shown the way to an apartment in a New Orleans-style neighborhood through the gates of the park.”
“Last Friday, I put in a new toner cartridge, and this morning it seems that it’s completely empty. At first, given the absurdity of such a notion, I erroneously concluded that something was wrong with the toner sensor, and that the printer was simply confused. I’ve been told that I have a way of anthropomorphizing machinery, but I could hear the gurgling soul within.”
“I’ve spent the past two days lost in the woods, on what my counselors call a hike. The concept seems ludicrous and they were brutally unsympathetic to my concerns. The first few minutes are bearable, but I begin to sense that we aren’t going anywhere, that our destination is the same lonely, rat-infested hut where we begin.”
Ryan Walsh is the External Affairs Coordinator for ArtsEmerson.