Honey, I love a bit of satire as much as the next person. I’ve even been known to employ it a time or two myself. But I realized a few years back that the kind of satire I was used to enjoying – that employed by wisecracking Southerners like Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Willie Morris, Barry Hannah, Rick Bragg, Roy Blount Jr. – was a far cry different than the kind employed nowadays.
My panties were jerked in a knot some years back when I spoke out about a book that millions found funny – Go the F**k to Sleep – but which I found to be decidedly not funny. As I pointed out in an essay I wrote for CNN, when one has been immersed in a story about child abuse, one is hypersensitive to the ways in which children today are being abused. One of which is the ugly, demeaning ways in which so many children are spoken to on a daily basis. So there was no way I was going to find a book that adapts that same abusive language and cloaks it as “satire” funny. I stand by my original assessment of Mansbach’s book: Not funny. Not in the least bit.