Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Review, 6/18/2012

If I don't write this now, there is a good chance it won't get written today, so I'm going to write it now, even though it would probably be improved by having a little bit more time to write than I have now.

I have finished one book this week.

Christopher Buckley - They Eat Puppies, Don't They?

A darkish satire about the interactions between lobbyists, defense contractors, and the US government. Walter "Bird" MacIntyre is hired by a defense contractor to drum up a war scare with China in order to convince Congress to approve spending on a new unmanned drone. MacIntyre does so, with the assistance of Angel Templeton, who works for the Institute for Continuing Conflict.

If you already like Christopher Buckley, you will probably enjoy this book. It has the usual selection of zany characters and snark about politics as usual in Washington. Buckley contends that a satirist must, on some level, love the thing si is satirizing, and perhaps that explains the mildness here - Buckley loves Washington politics as usual, and doesn't really want to see it change, even while recognizing that it needs to change, but if it changed he wouldn't have anything write about, so he writes his satire in such a way that it doesn't cause change. I don't know if that's fair - I just think the book could have been sharper. Perhaps the barbs are somewhat misdirected? Maybe Buckley isn't really interested in skewering. Perhaps he is too sympathetic to the lobbyists and the phony institutes. At any rate, if you don't already like Christopher Buckley, this is, perhaps, not the place to start reading. Thank You for Smoking has more bite and Little Green Men has zanier characters - either of those would be better.