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‘You Hear Me, Barack?’

Check out Steve Grammatico's new book of Obama satire.

by
Michael Walsh

Bio

September 15, 2013 - 5:11 am
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sagman book
My friend and colleague Steve Grammatico is out with his new book, “You Hear Me, Barack?” a collection of his mordant, satirical takes on President Obama and his extended family of zany, lovable characters, including the first lady, the vice president, and a host of other comic-opera Public Enemies currently adored by the collection of circus clowns known as the White House Press Corps. Please enjoy my introduction and the following excerpts and remember: this is no dream, this is really happening.

When the late Andrew Breitbart asked me in the fall of 2009 to start a new website called Big Journalism, the first thing I looked for in potential contributors was a sharp wit and a way with words. Luckily for me, one of the first people who signed on was Steve Grammatico, who quickly carved out a place for himself as our house satirist par excellence – the scourge of leftist cant, pious liberal nonsense and pie-in-the-sky progressivism.

Steve began his rise to punchlines and punditry in a typically 21st-century way, as the commenter “Sagman” on the influential lucianne.com website, where his sparkling insouciance quickly won him a loyal following.  Wrote one fan: “writing good political satire involves more than wit and words; it requires exceptional knowledge of personalities, politics, and policies.”

Satire, as the great playwright George S. Kaufman famously noted, is what closes on Saturday night. As someone who, under the nom de plume of “David Kahane,” has written a fair amount of satire myself, I would amend that wisecrack to “bad satire.”  Good satire – biting, crackling and always on target, but never simply mean and insulting – is what plays and plays. Because, at its heart, everybody knows its true. And even when it’s not, it is anyway.

If you doubt me, consider this: The Beggar’s Opera, a work of the English musical theater which skewered contemporary politicians, manners and mores has been playing, more or less continuously, since 1728. Yes, you read that right: for nearly three hundred years, both in its original form by John Gay and Johann Pepusch, and in its German incarnation by Bert Brecht and Kurt Weill, “The Threepenny Opera.”  And you know what?  It’s still funny.

Hence, this book, drawn from Steve’s work for Big Journalism and elsewhere. Chief among these pieces are the series of the Obama War Room parodies, in which all the villains of the administration are given free rein to express their innermost thoughts to a largely bewildered and clueless Barry, with the fun almost invariably ending when Michelle breaks into the room to berate the hapless president, her tirades ending with the words, “You hear me, Barack?”

In short, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder aloud, “what the hell were we thinking?” in electing Barack Hussein Obama president in 2008 and again in 2012.  “My goal,” he says, “is to get people to laugh, to see my scenarios as a warped and often not so warped reflection of reality. For me, incongruity is at the heart of satire.”

So sit back, relax and enjoy this parade of poltroons, hoist high with their own petards. You’re in the hands of a master.

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All Comments   (7)
All Comments   (7)
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You will love this book, hard hitting, hilarious and not too disrespectful.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Haven't read the book but from these excerpts the author seems to be channeling a harder and more political Irma Bombeck. Do these accounts really need to be this "zany" to be satirical? What these fools actually say is probably more over the top than anything you can make up.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The picture of Carville that accompanies this article.. Doesn't he look like a caricature of an invading alien or maybe a David Icke lizard person ?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
rrpjr: There is no doubt in my mind that many of these people are vicious. Bill Clinton called them “Chicago thugs” with good reason. Apparently Mr. Grammatico eschews “the deep visceral satisfaction of drawing blood.” That is obviously an author’s prerogative. If one is looking for “meaner,” he or she should look elsewhere or write their own political satire. As you say, this book is not for you, and that’s OK.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A little too mild and on-the-nose for me. And I'm not sure he really captures the "voices" of these people. Satire needs to get at the internal gyro of the ideology not simply explode the conspicuous conventions into caricature. And I think it has to be meaner. These people are vicious. Maybe they're even beyond satire (I'm not sure). I don't want to laugh so much as feel the deep visceral satisfaction of drawing blood. I'm not getting it here. Feels too Mad Magazinish.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I've read it. Hysterical ! You'll laugh until you have tears in your eyes. You may also find that some of the tears are tears of sadness rather than tears of laughter because of what is happening to our "fundamentally transformed" America. I guess Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, and Madison got it all wrong. Why else would Michelle say "Barack is going to fundamentally transform our country?"
1 minute ago
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I've read it. Hysterical ! You'll laugh until you have tears in your eyes. You may also find that some of the tears are tears of sadness rather than tears of laughter because of what is happening to our "fundamentally transformed" America. I guess Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, and Madison got it all wrong. Why else would Michelle say "Barack is going to fundamentally transform our country?"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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