Say Cheese: A New Book Describes All Things Cheesy
"Hitchhiking with a guitar." "Applauding Madonna as a feminist." "Teaching parrots cuss words." These and a few thousand more things make up the cheese "that holds this country together," according to Dave Eggers, co-editor/publisher of Might magazine and co-author of the recently published For the Love of Cheese (Boulevard Books).Cheese, as Eggers and the book's six other authors define it, is "that happy medium between being fun and being dorky, the razor-sharp line between being charmingly goofy and being someone you want to beat with a mallet."From "At the opera cheese" to a cheese timeline to a comparison between "Meteor crashing into the earth cheese" and "Things to do if you're Canadian cheese," the book's 137 pages are filled with charts, diagrams, and lists.In its slim, glossy-paperback format, For the Love of Cheese blends almost too well with the rest of the gimmicky lawyer-joke collections and cat-lover guides in a bookstore's humor section.But leave it to the makers of Might, a bimonthly satirical magazine based in San Francisco, to breathe life into a tired formula.You could say the Might editors have already done that with their magazine. Combining consistently funny material, intelligent writing, and a healthy dose of sarcasm, Might has distinguished itself from the slew of other "hip" magazines. Most recently, Might gained notoriety for running a fake obituary for Adam Rich of Eight Is Enough fame, a stunt that had even series co-star Dick Van Patten believing the former child actor was dead. For the Love of Cheese is an extension of Might's "Cheese" issue, published in June, 1995."It's about 30 times bigger than the original piece," Eggers says. "It's tons bigger and better. We took the idea a lot further."Though Eggers admits that $12 is a little pricey for such a small book, he does a good job at rationalizing the cost."It takes forever to read," he says. "The type is small, and it's densely packed. Think: if you had a piece of gold that big, it'd be a lot more expensive -- at least hundreds of dollars. And the economy's so strong now. In '92, the book would've been $8.50, but now Americans are happy. The mood is buoyant."Do Eggers and the rest of the Might staff ever worry about being too snide?"Of course we do, but not with this one," he says. "We're talking about stuff that we all do. It's where we all flip up, it's all of the dorky things we're guilty of. Cheese crosses all races, creeds and classes."