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You Hear Me, Barack?: PC-Free Conservative Satire Paperback – July 29, 2013
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
From the Author
FYI: You will find a larger sample of the material when you click "Look Inside" on the Kindle version of this book than when you "Look Inside" the paperback.
About the Author
Steve Grammatico was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, and taught language skills in a New York City alternative school for troubled Utes. When the federal government defunded the program in 1994, the Utes returned to their ancestral homeland outside Salt Lake City, and Steve launched a career as a leg shark and loan-breaker for dyslexic mobsters. He considers Paul Krugman the best humorist writing today. In his spare time, Steve avoids watching The View and pursues an interest in Biblical archaeology. During his last trip to the Holy Land, Steve discovered ancient scrolls suggesting that before God rested on the Seventh Day, He decided to give mankind the gift of laughter, and so He created liberals. You can e mail Steve at email@example.com.
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In this new book, Grammatico is able to comment at much greater length. While his lucianne.com pieces may have run from ten-thirty lines or so, he here has the space to extend his scenes, with an outside length of, say, 4-5 pp. He also includes parodies of famous poems and of famous scenes from well-known plays. While the central focus is the Obama administration, we get some glimpses of Secretary Clinton’s ruminations on a presidential run.
The pieces are quite funny, playing consistently to conservative points of view. As an eighteenth-centuryist who has taught satire for a living, I would categorize the satire here as ‘punitive’ rather than ‘persuasive’. The author is not arguing for a change in behavior; he is exposing behavior which, he believes, his audience will already see as worthy of scorn (and, in a number of cases, of serious concern).
The pieces are very clever, but not knee-slapping, laugh-out-loud funny in the vein of Dave Barry, Carl Hiassen, P. J. O’Rourke, et al. They are more shrewdly political, as in the work of ‘Iowahawk’, e.g. You definitely need to be up to date on the doings in partisan politics to experience their full effect. Grammatico’s pieces are most telling when you can hear the tone and timbre of the voices of the participants in your head. If, for example, you don’t know the voice and views and intonations of someone like Paul Begala, you won’t enjoy the pieces as much as the political junkies will. Speakers with outsized voices (Jesse Jackson, e.g.) are rendered very cleverly.
The overall impact of the pieces is sometimes more grim than comic, particularly to conservative ears. In other words, some readers will find these pieces closer to the likely truth than exaggerated fantasies. They are often deeply troubling rather than guffaw-inducing. They are also decidedly partisan. That does not mean that they are necessarily ‘wrong’, but we do not hear the voices of a Gates, a Panetta or, e.g., a Dianne Feinstein. Instead, we get Deborah Wasserman Schultz, James Carville, Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi. Grammatico is making a case, not creating a documentary, but satirists seldom celebrate sweet reason; by definition they deplore its absence and, as C. S. Lewis once observed, they are, by definition, ‘unfair’. They are not the people who sit around a table in rational discourse; they are the people who come up to opponents at bus stops and ask them if they are wearing artificial noses.