Twelve years ago, I got my first glimpse at satire. It came in the form of a book called Prince Harry’s First Quiz Book. My father, who knew about my interest in quizzing and quizzing related activities, brought this home one day, thinking his son would eventually learn enough about Brittania to participate in the original BBC Mastermind.
I started reading through it and began to wonder where all the trivia about british royalty was hidden. All the content seemed to be poking fun at the monarchy through subtle wordplay and not-so-subtle profanity. Understandably, my father gave me a strange look when I quoted my favorite line from the preface of the book :
“Shall I be plain? I want those bastards dead.” – Richard the Fourth.
(The line was obviously made up.)
I haven’t read much in satire since then, other than the occasional Internet article. So when I got the chance to read “America – the Book”, I was happy to see satire again in its most unadulterated and concentrated form.
The book takes aim at almost all branches of American politics, and I learnt about the political process more than I could have imagined. The best parts — and the most eye-opening ones — were the chapters about the lobbyists and the media.
Give it a read if you can find it somewhere. It makes excellent coffee-table reading if you’re only midly cynical.