• African-American writer Walter Dean Myers once was shipped to the Arctic because he was a member of a basketball team. While in the United States Army, Mr. Myers had starred on a very good intramural team. During a tournament, Mr. Myers’ colonel bragged about how good the team was, and he bet quite a lot of money that the team would win. Unfortunately, the team lost the championship game and to get revenge, the colonel shipped the losing players to bases in the Arctic. In Mr. Myers’ case, however, the attempt at revenge backfired. Mr. Myers loved the Arctic and said it was “fantastic.” Later, Mr. Myers became an award-winning author of such children’s books as Hoops.
• A couple of screenplay writers rented a house with the proviso that the landlord would redecorate the house. Time passed, and it became apparent that the landlord was not going to keep his promise. Therefore, the writers saw a lawyer, who drew up an agreement in which the landlord allowed the writers to redecorate the house any way they liked as long as they paid for the redecorating. Just before the writers moved out of the house, they painted every wall, every ceiling, and every floor — black.
• After William F. Buckley, Jr., wrote a memoir titled Overdrive, University of Chicago student David Brooks satirized him for the college newspaper. Because Mr. Buckley was widely important and knew everybody and had an ego, Mr. Brooks wrote that Mr. Buckley had written three volumes of memoirs before he had begun to talk: 1) The World Before Buckley “traced the history of the world prior to his conception,” 2) The Seeds of Utopia “outlined his effect on world events during the nine months of his gestation,” and 3) The Glorious Dawn“described the profound ramifications of his birth on the social order.” And so the satire continued, including Mr. Buckley becoming popular at school because he could turn water into wine. Soon afterward, Mr. Buckley gave a lecture at the University of Chicago, and at the end of the lecture he said, “David Brooks, if you’re in the audience, I’d like to offer you a job.” This was, of course, Mr. Brooks’ big break, and he ended up working at Mr. Buckley’s conservative magazine The National Review, where he learned much about writing from Mr. Buckley, who would often cover Mr. Brooks’ short editorials with red ink, and who would occasionally write on an egregiously bad piece of writing, “Come on, David!”
• Good satire often appears where you don’t expect it, and why not — satirists are highly intelligent people who sense opportunities that ordinary people don’t recognize. For example, many odd items appear for sale at <amazon.com>, including skinned rabbit carcasses. Immediately, satirists started writing customer comments: “Nothing says ‘EAT ME’ like a picture of a skinned rabbit carcass!” and “I bought this thinking it would make a wonderful gift for my neighbor’s young son. Ordering was simple, and delivery was flawless. So you can imagine the shock and awe not only on my face, but also my neighbor’s three-year-old son, when he opened the package to find a DEAD rabbit.” The <amazon.com> page selling uranium ore provoked this comment: “My wife and I purchased this product for the express purpose of breeding an atomic superman. After a daily regimen of ingesting a tablespoon of this powder mixed with green tea along with her prenatal vitamins, my wife developed serious morning sickness and perished during childbirth.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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