Tag Archives: Absurdity

Selling the Absurdity: Why Some Writers Suck at Being Satirical

I enjoy satire quite a bit. That’s not to say I’m the supreme authority on it, but I know good satire when I see it. I’ve read Jonathan Swift, Miguel de Cervantes, Kurt Vonnegut, and Voltaire all with genuine, audible laughter. They all have an ability to use the written word as an épée to foil their critics. When written appropriately, it can be quite disarming.

There are plenty of writers, especially bloggers, who think they’re up to the challenge of acquiring biting, satirical wit. That, in and of itself, is quite admirable. There’s nothing wrong with setting goals and working toward them. Satire is a higher form of comedy. Everybody loves a clown. So, why don’t you?

(I love spooking the anti-clown crowd. Say “anti-clown crowd” five times fast.)

The problem with writing good satire is not remotely believing what you’re writing. It is paramount the article be absurd to a reasonably intelligent human being. We’re not looking for MENSA candidates here, just people who can read well and be rational enough to conceptualize the argument. That way the reader can easily understand what’s being argued and think “there’s no possible way on Earth you mean that!” For example, A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift promotes cannibalism as a way to control population. This is what we call a red flag.

I love absurdity. Its abstraction turns logic on its head and draws a mustache on it for looking stuffy. It’s the rainbow bridging a tortoise and a tea cup. It’s the creative side that spilled the beans and then ate the mailbox. It’s that color I look for in any good satire.

What I find with the novice satirist is they’re not absurd enough, which leads me to suspect they believe what they are writing on some level. That’s just insulting, because then the writer becomes the essayist version of an Internet troll. Anyone who wants to make it in writing will want to avoid that perception at all costs.

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Stepping on the Toes Stuck Out to Trip Me

Years before I knew of WordPress, I would write reviews of businesses to ease the  frustration of being in the fields. They weren’t intentionally humorous, like Chris Hinton’s “Funny, Outrageous Reviews – Unicorns & Skulls,” but I had been known to take pot shots at places. Whether they deserved it or not is debatable. When you’re a miserable thirty-something that lost your footing in a place much more comfortable than where you entered this world, you tend to be a little bitchy. It also could have been low blood sugar. It’s a toss up.

Unlike most endeavors in my life, I stuck with it for quite some time. I still write reviews every now and then, and fired off a handful tonight. It made me think of all the foul people who reside at such places. To be fair, there are some genuinely interesting people, but I remember the wretched ones more often.

As I said before, I had been known to take pot shots. It wasn’t all that often, but I’m a very deliberate person. If someone cannot decide whether or not I’m insulting them, they can safely give me the benefit of the doubt. I’m very direct about this sort of thing, as there’s often an identifiable reason for it. It could be they’re acting like an imbecile, or they’re being inconsiderate to me. What have you.

Since I know my land well, I knew having a picture of my face out there was lethal. For some reason, people take personal insult to a bad review of an establishment they love. It’s a very defensive place. They must think I hate their freedom. At any rate, I fired up MS Paint and drew a stellar avatar.

When you live in one particular spot for a number of decades, you tend to remember the history. So, when I note I don’t want to patron an establishment due to a murder taking place on its premises, it ruffles feathers. There have been several bars I’ve noted police presence and why I would prefer not to drink at them. I’ve also ripped apart restaurants for being embarrassingly mediocre. In my defense, I always gave suggestions to improve the maladies.

This leads me to recall the worst, yet most awesome, hate I received to date. I had logged on after a month’s absence to find a friend request. Not only was it someone who didn’t care for what I had to say about… whatever he was pissed off about, he had created a specific user account to read “Fuck Nate’s Reviews.” Apparently I didn’t pay enough attention to him, and he decided he wanted to be my friend.

Why bring this up at all? Because in hindsight that is hysterical. There are people out there in life who make it a priority to push you around. Why? Because they lack so much character they want to destroy the people that have it. There seems to be plenty of that around here, and people wonder why I act the way I do.

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My City by the Bay (Chapter 2, Part 3 of 6)

Master William could never understand the concept of catch and release. “Why bother, if you’re only going to let it go, Mister?” Sig enjoyed some caperberry liqueur from his cordial glass and adjusted his hat. “Because, my dear boy, it’s the thrill of the hunt! Lustreland Falls has plenty of blinklefish, and they put up quite the fight!”

“But I’m hungry.” William was constantly hungry. Second breakfast was two too few, and seafood was his favorite. He wondered if he was an osprey in a former life. He broke a leg trying to fly off the Baubleglam Towers in Y’tarem city trying to find out. What a disappointment.

William pawed at his ruff. “Do I really have to wear this thing?”

“Absolutely.” Sig said slightly hurt.


“Because you’d ruin the absurdity!”

No more than a few seconds after the exchange, there was a tug on the line. Sig reeled and reeled, turned his fishing pole left and right. “This one’s a whopper, my dear lad!” He fought and fought with a few harrumpfs and a “fiddle-dee-dee” on the side. At the end of such a foreseen battle, he held up the largest blinklefish anyone has ever seen. As he popped out the hook, it fell against the dock.


That fish must have been made of solid gold. It began to convulse.


The last bang wrenched him out of it. The door! Someone was at the door. “al-RIGH-timcomin'” was about all Sig could muster at that moment. He didn’t do well with getting up from sleeping. He put on some dirty clothes and cracked the front door to the chains. A young woman with long, dark brunette hair stared at him unsurprised with her brown eyes. It was his partner, Benelli.

“Ohhh, heyyyy…” Sig said in a way that would make anyone question his sobriety.
“We need you at the station.” Long Island was a faraway place, geographically speaking, but would only be a stone’s throw with his partner around.

With that, he combed his hair and put on his holster and shoes. There was breakfast waiting for him in her SLS GT Coupe.

“You only do this, when McGreavy’s about to bite my head off.”

“Yeh, they pulled your car out of the ‘chumi this morning. You’ve got some talkin’ to do. The Chief doesn’t like his force being so loud and obvious. It makes everyone nervous.”

“That’s what he gets for hiring a smart mouth like me. Say, how did you get the money to buy this thing, anyway? It’s mint.”

“I’m better with money than you are.”

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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