Oh, Where Are the Satires of Yesteryear?
July 2018

When it comes to Christopher Buckley, I can’t help feeling like the aliens who appear in Stardust Memoriesand tell Woody Allen, “We like your movies, particularly the early, funny ones.”  That is, I like Buckley’s early, funny satires.

Alas, I couldn’t even finish his two most recent books—The Judge Hunter and The Relic Master—two supposedly funny, but to my mind, boring historical novels.

What a disappointment this new turn in his writing career has been—because his early satires are wonderful! (Warning: they are also full of extremely dark humor.)  I recommend these favorites:

  • Thank You for Smoking: Features the chief spokesperson for the tobacco industry, along with his pals on the M.O.D. (“Merchants of Death”) squad, representatives of the alcohol and firearms industries. Click here for details.
  • They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? About a lobbyist and sexy neocon joining forces to get funding for a top-secret weapons system, by spreading the rumor that China is trying to assassinate the Dalai Lama.
  • Florence of Arabia:  The attempts of state department employee named Florence trying to bring equal rights to a fictional Middle Eastern nation of Matar.
  • I also liked Losing Mum and Pup, a fond and sympathetic memoir about coping with the death of his parents. He is the liberal son of conservative William F. Buckley and Patricia Taylor Buckley, a glamorous socialite.

I’m not the only one who likes Buckley.  Critics have called him:  “One of the funniest writers in the English language.” (author Tom Wolfe); “The quintessential political novelist of our time (Fortune); and “One of the best and surest political humorists in America.” (Los Angeles Times Book Review).

If you like wicked satires in general, click here for more recommendations.