Michael Stusser

Dead men do tell tales

Turns out Buddha wasn’t as fat as the t-shirts at Urban Outfitters suggest, and Nostradamus cured plague sufferers with clean water and vitamin C before predicting the Apocalypse. Local author Michael Stusser grills 45 of history’s most notable and notorious in The Dead Guy Interviews, a collection of his comic columns from trivia-centric magazine mental_floss. The premise is a good one: fake interviews with people from the little blue sections of sixth-grade textbooks. Creating 45 different voices isn’t easy, and Stusser doesn’t always pull it off; Napoleon, Coco Chanel, and Joan of Arc all have zee same stereotyped French syntax and a penchant for calling people “imbecile!” At times, Stusser raises questions that go deeper than his history lite is prepared to discuss, asking George Washington Carver if “African Americans had themselves to blame for not achieving higher status in the South.”

“Ya know, I try and avoid public statements on my philosophy and mainly stick to peanuts,” faux-Carver responds. With enough trivia to help high schoolers through their history Advanced Placement tests, it’s a good thing to have on hand the next time you’re watching a Jim Jarmusch movie and trying to remember who that Nikola Tesla guy was.

Fri., Oct. 5, 6:30 p.m., 2007

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