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Where to Invade Next Hardcover – February 28, 2008
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In satire, the writer professes to approve the very thing he or she wishes to attack. The satirist dos so by means of irony: there is discordance between what is said and what is meant. The thing about Where To Invade Next is that it's so convincing in its approval that it hard to tell what is actually meant. There are none of the usual clues to reassure the reader of the writer's true intent. When you read The Onion, you know that they don't really mean anything they say. Where To Invade Next does not have this literary wink. There is no reassuring message that says "We are actually opposed to invasion. This is just a joke."
This is a sort of raw satire, satire stripped of its disclaimers, and it landed on me like a bomb. For an evening I was plunged into the mind of a player operating at the highest levels of world politics. It is a mind burning with terrifying paranoia, genuine care twisted into hate.
This is a different kind of satire. It does not merely mock abusive and violent persons, it takes you inside their minds. In this way it is very effective. Unless, of course, McSweeney's really has gone over to the neo-cons. You just can't tell.
It fails miserably. Satire is supposed to have clues. Just because you give your book an irreverent title doesn't mean someone will go "oh, okay, they're just joking".
This book and these authors, instead of creating "raw satire" (so it's satire that you literally cannot tell it's satire so it's raw? lolwut?), outline outstanding reasons to invade these seven other countries.
Their research and the clear, concise way they lay it out is terrific and they do me excellent case for regime change. They've convinced me we should go to war with these countries.
So if they set out for satire, they're miserable, abysmal failures.