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Satire for the bookish set

June 11, 2009 |  8:12 am

MCs are never as funny as comedians, because trying to introduce something funny is inevitably not particularly funny. That said, there are a couple of satires online that are, you know, really funny!

First, let me introduce Mister Ben Greenman at the New Yorker ... stand back, folks, he's gonna make like Manny and knock it outta the park!

That was my first exposure to lit-roiding.

We were in the back room of a bookstore. He shut the door and looked around cautiously. "Come on," he said. "You won’t believe how it makes you feel."

"No way," I said. "I believe in this art form the way it used to be: a result of natural talent and nothing but."

"Times have changed" he said. “Only big books are big books, if you catch my drift. You think anyone would give Djuna Barnes or Nathanael West the time of day now?” I looked over. He was typing furiously.

“Hey,” I said. “What are you doing?"

“Chapter eight,” he said. "No, wait. Chapter nine...."

That's right, read the whole thing and come back for our next act: author Jason Pinter, writing on his blog. To set this one up I gotta direct you to Esquire, where Benjamin Alsup "reads Dean Koontz and David Baldacci and more from America's new literary canon of popular but insipid fiction, so you don't have to." Pinter imagines the planning meeting:

Editor: We need to stir the pot a little, and nothing stirs the pot like criticizing something that everybody else seems to like. Let's see ... it's summertime ... people go to the beach ... people read on the beach ... hey, let's do a hatchet job article on books people might read at the beach! 

Writer: Great idea. There are already several books that I have to hold my nose at just to be in the same room with.

Editor: Terrific. Now, not only do you have to hate these books, but you also have to mock people who might like them. Make it clear you abhor literary commercialism. We're a serious magazine, and by taking a stance against these stupid books it will increase our street cred in the literary community. Don't make it too long, though, we need to save room for A.J. Jacobs's article about the time he wore a bunny outfit for a month straight.

A big hand for these boys, ladies and gentlemen! And thanks for stopping by our little shew.

--Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: CarbonNYC via Flickr