Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Boomsday Review

I am certain that many say this, but I, having only read one of his books and seen one film adaptation, think that if all of his books are as good as Boomsday, then all of them should be made into movies. Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Jr., is a goddamn satirical genius. If you've seen Thank You for Smoking, you have some idea of what I'm talking about.

The thing about satire is that it's easier to do in a short proposal. To develop an entire story around the satirical premise takes talent and chutzpah, which Buckley demonstrates in spades. In Boomsday world, Boomers are retiring in droves, and the Congress is happily redistributing the wealth of the under-thirty crowd (in this, Generation Whatever) to what the protagonist, 29 yo Cassandra Devine, calls "resource hogs" and "Wrinklies." They convince Congress to ensure tax breaks on everything related to making sure their retirement is as comfy as possible (in this way, the satire borders on simple prescience, but Buckley takes it far enough to maintain the humor). The country is run by a bumbling idiot, is involved in six wars (a result of the rise of the "geo-cons") and the world capital markets are selling dollars like mad.

Against this chaotic backdrop, Cassandra (who works for a PR firm) incites her peers via her blog to demonstrate against Boomer excess and destroy their property. She proposes that the government address the Social Security crisis by providing incentives to Boomers who agree to voluntarily kill themselves. Hilarity ensues.

I devoured this book and I laughed consistently throughout. Although a friend recently informed me that he didn't find C. Buckley's work all that funny (a point I can understand), in this tome, Buckley lives up to the hype. Not only does it resonate with me (on of those under-30s for a few more days), but I think Boomers will laugh sheepishly. And of course, Washington, DC culture takes a beating.

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