The final installment of the MagMods Book Club reading of Playing Smart comes from the author herself, Catherine Keyser, assistant professor of English at the University of South Carolina. It has been a tremendous pleasure hosting this book club reading and we are deeply grateful to all the participants but Catherine in particular, who exhibited such grace and fortitude from start to finish.
I’d like to begin my remarks on a personal note rather than a scholarly one. It was a simultaneously humbling and inspiring experience to read such thoughtful and eloquent posts from the book club participants responding to Playing Smart. The generosity of these intellectual explorations, the contextualization and conceptualization of magazine culture and humor that each contributor shared, is an embarrassment of riches. I offer my deepest thanks, not only for your feedback on my work but also for the delightful experience of reading your blog posts—each one witty, expert, and provocative.
The seven posts fell into three major categories that I will tackle here (though there is much more that I could say and write about in reply to such rich posts): the humor and style of these smart writers and how (or whether) they produce cultural critique; the challenge of defining a periodical context; and the role of irony in modern and contemporary media. Continue reading