Friday, September 28, 2012

They Eat Puppies, Don’t They?

Written by Christopher Buckley

A Review

Humor is a dangerous thing.  Done wrong, if one ingredient is mis-measured, the whole thing falls.

Satire raises the stakes. Political satire is even riskier. Political satire in an election year is an out-of-control neutron bomb in a major city; it will go off if you so much as look at the device.

Oh well. At least the buildings will be standing.

“They Eat Puppies, Don’t They” is a satire that I suspect my great-grandchildren will be reading about in college, with footnotes and learned volumes  giving them the background on the simmering conflict between the United States of America and the People's Republic of China.

At least I hope to have great-grandchildren. Who read some version of English. Or whose Chinese masters have discovered the value of American humor.

Poor things. They are going to miss all the fun.  For them, reading the book (or whatever they will use for books then) will be like reading “Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships” by Jonathan Swift.  In other words, a chore. You will need learned tomes to understand WHY people in 2012 thought it was funny.

For us, this book will not be a chore. Buckley deftly whips us along with “Bird” McIntyre, a mostly-nice lobbyist. The weapons system McIntyre’s company is touting for a client is killed in committee.  

But have no fear: the arms company has another strategy. Foment American mistrust of the People’s Republic. This will allow the company to get another super-duper EVEN MORE SECRET (translated: even New York Times reporters know about it) weapons system through committee.

To do that, Bird is paired up with a fire-breathing neo-conservative bombshell, Angel Templeton. Their mission: to whip up American feeling against China. To do that, the pair spread misinformation that the People’s Republic is trying to kill the Dali Lama.

In China, President Fa Mengyao, is trying to keep a lid on hard-liners in his own government. They think war is a lovely thing. If America wants war, why not oblige? That’s hard when it turns out the Dali Lama is dying.

Chaos ensues. Belly laughs and guffaws will come from behind books, Nooks, Kindles and whatever.





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