Monday, February 14, 2005

Satire rulez!

I mean...the rules of satire:

Rule #1 : The only rule that really matters. Know your subject really, really well. If you do, whether it (the satire) works or not is strictly a function of your skill.

America, The Book succeeds at many levels on that front. The book by media's favorite liberal (no, not Michael Moore) and his cohorts over at The Daily Show is the classic coffee table book, the kind I'd never spend money on (this came from the library). Organized as a high school civics textbook complete with graphs and diagrams and class exercises, which include gems like "Disenfranchise a black voter in your class", this is classic comic relief for these troubled times. And, the writers know their American democracy from their apple pie and recounts.

The book's humor ranges from sharp and sarcastic to completely immature and sophomoric "South Park" type jokes (NAMBLA makes an appearance too). No Republicans or Democrats are spared, and a couple of pages take care of the third parties through the ages. One of my favorite cartoons shows the graves of all the third parties,with brief timelines and one-liners on the headstones. The one on the libertarian party's headstone says "Ahhh... we should've worn our seatbelts". Ouch.(I'm not a libertarian, but many blogs I am reading seem to go that way)

What amazes me about the US is how seriously people here take the freedom of speech thing. Any book with this many jokes about India's founding fathers and leaders would have been burnt on the streets by both the Congress and the saffron brigade. Now that would have been an achievement.

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