2

I've watched a Louis CK stand up comedy, and am wondering what he meant by "I've flipped through the brochure"?

“I like life. You know how much I do? I have never killed myself, that’s how much I like it. ... I like it precisely enough to not kill myself. It’s an option, though, it’s totally an option. I mean, I’m 49, I have two kids, I’ve flipped through the brochure a few times.”

9
  • 1
    Need more context.
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 9, 2018 at 21:11
  • 1
    I think "nor even any useful* second language" was unhelpful and necessary. What makes a language useful, or other languages useful is opinion biased even if English is the predominant language. "Flip through" is an idiomatic phrasal verb and is not meant literally, so I wouldn't exactly condemn the OP, if he's not familiar with English idioms. OP-if you googled "flipped through", Cambridge dictionary provide a clear explanation to the meaning. Other ex.
    – aesking
    Jun 9, 2018 at 21:46
  • 1
    I suspect the sentence is being used as a metaphor, which is why some context is necessary. "I don't understand women, but I've flipped through the brochure a few times."
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 9, 2018 at 22:02
  • 1
    Like I said, context is needed. Until then the question is too unclear to answer.
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 9, 2018 at 22:43
  • 1
    @HotLicks added more contextual info
    – aesking
    Jun 9, 2018 at 23:47

2 Answers 2

13

Given that context it means that he has considered suicide, but (obviously) has never carried through on it.

"Brochure" here is a metaphor for the thoughts and plans that would go into a suicide, and possibly the consideration of the consequences for his family. "Flipped through" means he hasn't "studied" the option of suicide in detail, but has at least briefly considered it, as you might "flip through" (briefly review) a brochure on a car you're only mildly interested in buying.

11
  • hmm.. this does make sense now, and the delivery probably would have helped it more so
    – Tom22
    Jun 10, 2018 at 0:16
  • 3
    @Lambie where did you get suicide prevention brochure? that has not be explicitly mentioned: "Flipped through" means he hasn't "studied" the option of suicide in detail, but has at least briefly considered it, as you might "flip through" (briefly review) a brochure on a car you're only mildly interested in buying."
    – aesking
    Jun 10, 2018 at 0:20
  • 1
    Well, hot licks said as you might ... a brochure. Not an actual brochure. It's a simile (comparison); I hope you see that.
    – aesking
    Jun 10, 2018 at 0:22
  • 1
    @aesking: Having looked at the full transcript, this quote is right at the start, where he's arguing abortion is a woman's choice. The detour to suicide is a short detour and never goes towards suicide prevention. In fact, the next part is I’ve thought of killing myself just to win an argument..
    – MSalters
    Jun 10, 2018 at 0:55
  • 1
    @aesking: I'll write up an answer.
    – MSalters
    Jun 10, 2018 at 1:00
3

The problem here seems to lie in the article: the brochure. Which brochure?

Normally, you use the when there's no doubt about the identity. that might be because there's no ambiguity, or because you follow the article by something the provides the disambiguation: the green brochure, the brochure Jane wrote.

Louis CK isn't using the brochure in a literal sense, though. Look at the previous sentence: I like it precisely enough to not kill myself. It’s an option, though. Now what's a brochure? It's something that lists available options. Flipping through a brochure implies a superficial study of the options in that brochure. And this particular brochure has options to kill yourself.

It's precisely because the brochure doesn't point back to an obvious brochure, that you know it's not a literal brochure but a conceptual one. This isn't unusual in comedy. Forcing the audience to think is key to making it funny.

0

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.