“Great!” My New Satire of America

great big thumbs upI’ve started writing a new book, a broad satire of American Values. Working title: “Great!”

Some will find my portrait of a country gone off the rails a bit dark, the comedy too black, the irony too on-the-nose. But in times like these, when a megalomaniac with narcissistic personality disorder doesn’t even have to take all the power he believes he’s entitled to — it’s given to him by compliant little people who fantasize about one day being as rich and powerful as their hero — satire can’t be too broad, too outlandish.

Or have too many plot twists.

Here’s my working outline. Our hero is a fellow named Mr. Great. He’s a fabulously rich — and, therefore, successful — human being. But like most classical heroes, he has a tragic flaw: Mr. Great is a megalomaniac with narcissistic personality disorder. He’s accustomed to taking — grabbing might be a better word — what he wants. But when he decides what he wants is to be President of the United States — yes, I know my story is a bit absurd, but give it a chance — the citizenry, or at least a minority of them, form an unlikely coalition of uneducated serfs, highly educated oligarchs, and single-issue conspiracy theorists, and, with the help of an entertainment industry branch known as “the media,” deliver the highest office in the land to someone who has been named as a defendant in 163 federal lawsuits.

Good so far?

“Great!” unfolds in the days leading up to Mr. Great assuming the Presidency of the United States. On the day before Mr. Great becomes The Prez, he makes a few declarations, some of them through social media, some through his legion of lackeys, most of them ugly old white men, like their boss. (This part I may have to adjust; in real life, everyone knows how attractive our new administration is.) Mr. Great announces that if it were up to him, he would cut funding for the Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women programs.

Mr. Great announces that if it were up to him, he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Mr. Great announces that if it were up to him, heWashington Advice would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities. Mr. Great announces that if it were up to him, he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The saved money can go toward more important things, like tax breaks for Mr. Great’s rich buddies.

Mr. Great announces that if it were up to him, he would cut funding he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency. Mr. Great announces that if it were up to him, he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.

Mr. Great announces that if it were up to him, he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, because, really, you don’t fix something that’s already perfect.

Mr. Great announces that if it were up to him, he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation. Mr. Great announces that if it were up to him, he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, because we all agree we need a new nuclear arsenal, not civil rights for all citizens of our nation.

Mr. Great announces that if it were up to him, he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice, because we all agree we need more fighter jets, not meddling into the criminal practices of some of America’s most admirable job creators in the oil, coal, and precious metals industries.

Mr. Great announces that if it were up to him, he would cut funding for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Mr. Great announces that if it were up to him, he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Mr. Great announces that if it were up to him, he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.

Then he becomes President! 

LBJ PlanOn his first day in office, President Great orders the regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen. Finally, the burdensome meddling ends!

President Great orders the National Parks Service to stop using social media after the Service re-tweets comparative photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations. Photos which do not conform to Mr. Great’s image of himself.

The next day, President Great brings a claque of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to applaud during a speech that consists almost entirely of attacks on the Press, the one whose reporting does not conform to Mr. Great’s image of himself. President Great’s Press Secretary, affectionately known as The Troll, holds a press conference, during which he devotes most of his remarks to attacking the press for accurately reporting the attendance at the inaugural festivities, and says that President Great’s inauguration had “the largest audience of any in history, period.”

“Great!” I confess, borders on the absurd. But so do some of my other books. Do you like it so far?

On the second day in office, I ramp up the action, delivering a slew of fascinating plot points to weave together in one thrilling narrative of greatness. That’s when President Great’s White House advisor, affectionately known as Seabiscuit, defends The Prez’s Press Secretary’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television. That’s when President Great reinstates a global gag order on international organizations that mention abortion as a medical option; doing so results in de-funding.

The next day, with the masses seeming slightly more interested in their bread than their circuses, President Great repeats the lie that more than 3 million people voted “illegally,” costing him the popular vote, a result that does not conform with his image of himself.

The next day, President Great’s Press Secretary, The Troll, reiterates President Great’s false assertion that more than 3 million people voted “illegally,” costing President Great the popular vote.

The next day President Great mistakenly tweets a photo from a massive Women’s Protest March on Washington, saying it will hang in the White House Press Roomgreat! and represent the crowd he wished had attended his inauguration.

That same day, President Great orders the Environmental Protection Agency to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press, and to freeze all grants and contracts. Then President Great orders the United States Department of Agriculture to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press without White House vetting, and to stop publishing any papers or research. Then his Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee characterizes federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”

Then President Great orders the resumption of construction on a violently unpopular Pipeline, and the legislature of the great state of North Dakota considers a bill that would legalize striking Pipeline protesters with cars if they’re on roadways. (It’s a public safety issue, etc.)

Then President Great announces he’s going to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, and ban Muslims from entering America — and, in my next chapter, President Great announces he’s going to build a wall between the United States and Canada and ban the National Hockey League from playing games in Edmonton.

OK. Maybe that last one is a bit too broad. But, otherwise, how you liking “Great!” so far?

 

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1 Response

  1. Great Scott says:

    Just Fking Great!