Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A New Modest Proposal

Title: Boomsday
Author: Christopher Buckley

Terry said, “You’ve been reading Ann Rand again. I can tell.”

Ayn Rand. And what’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing. Except everytime I see one of that nutty broad’s books open on your desk, you start acting like some fruitcake messiah.”

“Who was it who told me, a long time ago, ‘Anger is the best motivator’? Wasn’t it your generation that started the whole youth-movement thing? Come on, Terry. Forgotten what it’s like to be young and angry?”

Terry shrugged. “I’m middle-aged and angry. With good Scotch, I can deal with the anger.”

Jacked up late one night on caffeine pills and Ayn Rand, outraged young blogger Cassandra Devine cooks up a plan to save her generation from the looming Social Security debt threatening to crush them all: offer Baby Boomers government incentives to kill themselves (i.e., “voluntary transitioning”). Forget conventional morality and legality, Cassandra reasons; Baby Boomers have been the most selfish and self-centered of generations. It’s about time they gave something back to the rest of us.

Riding high on a wave of moral indignation, Cassandra proposed the plan on her Social Security policy blog, CASSANDRA (Concerned Americans for Social Security Amendment Now, Debt Reduction and Accountability). The result is a firestorm in the national media. The AARP vilifies her; the Sunday morning political shows court her; and the youth of the nation start rioting outside gated retirement communities. Most surprisingly, a playboy Senator (first name Randy) wants to make Cassandra’s proposal the platform for his presidential bid … and he might just succeed.

If you’re looking for a rollicking satire of political machinations inside the Beltway, Boomsday works. Those familiar with the bureaucratic chambers of our nation’s great capital will be particularly amused … if they are not deeply offended. Do you find the idea of a self-righteous televangelist tangling with “Russian Jezebels” (i.e., prostitutes) and their pimps amusing? How about a reality television show called Green Card, in which “illegal (but good-looking) Mexicans had to make it across the U.S. border, past the Border Patrol and minutemen and fifty miles of broiling desert, to the finish line”? If so, try Boomsday.

Incidentally, Christopher Buckley is the son of the late William F. Buckley, the witty and influential thinker behind the modern conservative movement. The son’s humor is more bombastic than the father’s, though his conservative leanings remain apparent. But Christopher seems more interested in skewering the Washington process than “liberals,” and he does so very effectively. So long as he keeps making me laugh, I can enthusiastically ignore his political lineage.

Check out this great Buckley interview with Markeplace about Boomsday.

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posted by Elizabeth at 6:47 PM


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