CCS – Top 10 Political Satire Books
As has been the custom since its imagined founding in 2011, the Cervantes Cervézas Society (CCS) has invited the most recent recipient of its presumptuous Gold Medal Award to name the top ten (10) works in a chosen literary genre.
This year’s CCS Gold Medal was presented to non-existent Canadian writer Michel D. Cervésasse for his novel "The Most Strategic, Integrated and Aligned Servant of the Public Don Quincy de la Mangement" which satirizes both politics and public administration.
The following are his choices in the category of political satire.
10. Mark Twain - The Complete Works
Cervésasse: “Twain probably merits a place higher in this list, but I am trying to spread out the classic and the contemporary to project a level breadth and erudition not common in such top ten lists. Twain really deserves political satire recognition for his little-more-than-a-pamphlet book “King Leopold’s Solioquy” which played a big role in drawing attention to early 20th century atrocities in the Congo Free State – but that thing is available for free (click here if you must) and that does not help the pecuniary Amazon Associates ambitions of this list – so I am picking the Complete Works listed above.”
9. P.J. O’Rourke - Don’t Vote - It just encourages the Bastards
Cervésasse: “I am not P.J. O’Rourke’s greatest fan. I find his recent writing to be rather crude, prone to the nonsensical, and gratuitously harsh. But I am giving him a spot on my list because of the debt I owe him for helping me get through my late teens and university days with his early pieces in the National Lampoon. Back then, he was harsh on people that deserved it with stuff that was mind-blowing nonsense and awesomely crude. Yeah, back then, he was really great. Not now.”
8. Stephen Colbert - I Am America (And So Can You!)
Cervésasse: “Colbert was inspired by the Daily Show host Jon Stewart who has satirical books “America” and “Earth” that could have been listed here instead of this one – but I think the Daily Show makes for better TV than a book – and I think Colbert’s book is the better TV-in-a-Book book that was then made available as an abridged book in audio format that is not as good as TV.”
7. John Steinbeck – The Short Rein of Pippin IV: A Fabrication
Cervésasse: “That was two living and commercially popular satirists, so now I had better pick a dead one. Steinbeck is good for my credibility because he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I liked that he said he did not deserve it. But better still, I find it funny that he felt it necessary to say, in the title, that this book was ‘A Fabrication.’ It is the story of an astronomer who liked motor scooters and shunned mistresses, becoming King of France !”
6. Terry Fallis – the Best Laid Plans
Cervésasse: “Jim Carrey, Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, Mike Myers, Russell Peters,Tommy Chong, Tom Green, David Frum, Ed the Sock. Canadians are pretty comical at times and seem like they know humor – so I am going to assume they know political satire too and give them one spot on my list. This book won their country’s biggest humor prize and best known national book competition - in Canada – in all of Canada !! OK, that is pale praise, but this is still a good political humor novel.”
5. Al Franken – Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them
Cervésasse: “Senator Franken is a voice for the Left and, before he entered politics, was celebrated as an eloquent and impactful spokesperson. Now, he is another politician. It is true that the Left seems to have a greater capacity to satirize and deconstruct their opponents than the right-wing pundirazzi - People like Franken certainly draw on verbal skill and wit that is rarely evident in the shouting from the Right that often amounts to childish, school-yard taunts like “The Stupid liberals and their stupidly stupid ideas." (Note by way of contrast, the title listed above and Franken`s earlier book "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot"). Of course, the fact that Franken has a book published that I can point to is the important thing here - and that's good enough for me - It will suffice as a surrogate for - Saturday Night Live - which is the thing that really deserves a spot on a top ten political satire list.”
4. Jonathan Swift – Gulliver’s Travels
Cervésasse: “Time to go back to something closer to a classic. Gulliver’s Travels is a rich satire of a range of political perspectives – from what we might call left to right. But it is also a satire of travel literature, human nature, and philosophy – anyway - those tiny Lilliputians crack me up.”
3. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. – Slaughterhouse-Five
Cervésasse: “Different - not everyone’s cup of tea. The words in Slaughterhouse-Five say it is about WWII. But when I was young, we all knew it was really about Viet Nam. I just saw on Wikipedia that its full title is supposed to be –
Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty Dance with Death, by Kurt Vonnegut, a Fourth-Generation German-American Now Living in Easy Circumstances on Cape Cod [and Smoking Too Much], Who, as an American Infantry Scout Hors de Combat, as a Prisoner of War, Witnessed the Fire Bombing of Dresden, Germany, ‘The Florence of the Elbe,’ a Long Time Ago, and Survived to Tell the Tale. This Is a Novel Somewhat in the Telegraphic Schizophrenic Manner of Tales of the Planet Tralfamadore, Where the Flying Saucers Come From. Peace.
2. Mark Thomas – The People’s Manifesto
Cervésasse: “British humorist Mark Thomas is really not that funny. He just says true stuff, gets red in the face, jumps, and makes it sound like he is telling a joke – so the overall effect is something that comes across as political satire.”
1. Miguel de Cervantes - Don Quixote
Cervésasse: “If I had to defend this book as political satire, I would point out that Cervantes (who shares a name with the esteemed society that had the wit to award me the Gold Medal this year and has the capacity to do so again in the future) was writing and mocking in a context that included dramatic political change and Inquisition-style consequences for anyone whose jokes were not well received. Besides, Don Quixote is the top of every list I make out.”
Again, the Society Board of Governors notes that the above represents the opinion, albeit ostensibly endorsed, of one non-existent writer Michel D. Cervésasse, whose sole credentials for making these selections rest on his satirical novel "The Most Strategic, Integrated and Aligned Servant of the Public Don Quincy de la Mangement."