Satire Must-Reads

Perhaps you are familiar with “Don’t Make Fun of Renowned Dan Brown,” which is hilarious, so if you’re not, you must click through at once.

The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. They said it was full of unnecessary tautology. They said his prose was swamped in a sea of mixed metaphors. For some reason they found something funny in sentences such as “His eyes went white, like a shark about to attack.” They even say my books are packed with banal and superfluous description, thought the 5ft 9in man. He particularly hated it when they said his imagery was nonsensical. It made his insect eyes flash like a rocket.

I have never read The Da Vinci Code, and I never will because life is short, there are lots of other books I would much rather read, and satiric posts like this make it clear that I would never be able to wade through it, even to chortle over nonsensical imagery.

Well, last night I tripped over a similar bit of satire: “How Dave Weber Orders a Pizza.” This is completely different, equally funny, and well worth your time.

I have indeed read a fair number of books by Weber, and honestly, this satiric post isn’t wrong, though it’s exaggerating, of course. Here, have a small taste of the post:

“What’s the nearest cross street?” Jason continued. In truth, his software would be able to tell him exactly where 12715 Harboraz Street was, and even the exact course that Alonzo could follow in his delivery vehicle to get him there in the least possible time. Modern delivery vehicles were the pinnacle of safety and comfort, but their basic design had changed little from the Model T that had seen service a century ago. An engine produced power by combusting air with gasoline vapor inside a cylinder, which drove a piston attached to a crankshaft. This spinning shaft provided torque that could be routed to the vehicle’s wheels through a series of shafts and gears. The wheels themselves mounted inflated rubber rings that pushed against the road surface and impelled the vehicle forward – or provided braking force if the driver chose to slow down. The contact between the wheels and the road, however, intimately depended on the planet’s gravity, and as such each vehicle was restricted to operating entirely on the surface of the planet. This meant that special roadways had had to be built throughout every city, roadways big enough and smooth enough to allow vehicles to pass. The route any driver took to his destination consisted of a series of turns, as these streets often intersected one another, creating a situation where vehicles following along one street had to be careful not to collide with vehicles following a street that crossed theirs. This series of successive turns could easily be figured out by modern map software – a feat that just three decades earlier would have seemed like science fiction – but there was always that tiny, tiny chance that the software would make a mistake, or that the street name in question might have been misspelled, and in that case it was vitally important that the driver have the name of another street nearby that ran perpendicular to the street he was interested in.

“The cross street,” the voice resumed as though a dissertation on the history of urban traffic had not at all intervened, “Is 4th Avenue.”

Jason dutifully wrote this latest piece of information down on a note pad he’d had sitting next to the phone for exactly this purpose. He followed the practice his manager had suggested weeks earlier and wrote in ink, using a hand-held ball-point ink pen made by the Paper Mate company that lay at the end of a tether next to the phone. Ink had had a long and proud history, dating back almost to the dawn of writing itself. He mused about the long, tortuous road leading from the first accountants’ tally marks in ancient Mesopotamia to the sophisticated symbolic system of writing modern Americans now enjoyed, but pushed that thought aside to maintain the proper professional air of aloof concentration that Customer Relations required.

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2 thoughts on “Satire Must-Reads”

  1. I found my mother’s old book named “Twentieth Century Parody” – I remember crying with laughter at “Invictus”: A regurgitation, by Ira Wallach. An example:
    The affective significance of the words, in Stanza One, ‘from pole to pole,” is heightened by the intertwining of two sounds with two prepositions, both nouns (“pole”) being the same. This use of the homonym is given both life and motion buy the use of two different prepositions, ‘from,” and “to,” the “from” significantly preceding, rather than following, the ‘to.’

    Looking at the whole book, which I haven’t read, I see mock essays and mock fiction by Robert Benchley, EB White, John Updike (he wrote On the Sidewalk, a parody of On the Road), even James Thurber. From 1960, wow.

    I have to admit, the analysis of Invictus was not as funny as I remember, and really not as funny as “how David Weber orders a pizza’.

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