The Roastee Responds
Imagine if you were to wake up from an innocent sleep on Monday morning after a nice weekend with your family only to find that a bunch of strangers were waiting at your front door to kick you in the genitals. Or to beat your stomach with socks stuffed with tennis balls. Or maybe they were writing things on the Internet, without your permission, that were deliberately meant to insult you. Well, that’s what happened to me this week.
I suppose you who roasted me want me to thank you for your misguided affection. And I do appreciate those of you who wrote me personally to say that it was “all in good fun” and that I’m “adored.” That’s nice to know. But the roasts I read ranged from the sort-of-amusing to the nonsensical to the downright mean, and, in one case, jealous, bitter, pathetic, and near-stalker-like. One would have to have a strong nose indeed to detect any whiff of adoration.
The maxim goes, as maxims do, that satire is supposed to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. I know for a fact that you all are afflicted. I’ve met many of you in person, and boy, are you afflicted. But I, too, am far from comfortable. Would you assail a man as he sat, weeping, disappointed in himself and his work, by the side of the road? Perhaps you would. I personally would not. I would take that man into my home, give him something warm to drink, and watch a basketball game on television with him. Next time, when you as a collective choose to focus your satirical ire, why not make fun of old women, or mentally disabled people waiting for the bus, or dogs with kidney problems? That would be hilarious, too.
I wish you all nothing but happiness in the coming year.
P.S. Just to show there are no hard feelings, I present to you, free of cost, my list of the Top 10 Books of the Year.
—The Secret Life of Beets, by Sue Monk Kidd. A vastly underrated vegetable helps a white girl and her black nanny endure the trials of the civil-rights era.
—Enemies of the Realm, by Ann Coulter. The Democrats helped Osama bin Laden escape.
—The Five People You Eat in Heaven, by Mitch Albom. Through the wisdom of his dying high-school math teacher, a thinly fictionalized sportswriter discovers the hidden joys of cannibalism.
—A Roll of the Dice, by William Bennett. A look inside the fascinating world of high-stakes gambling, told as a fable by someone who knows.
—Lies, Lies, Lies: How the Deceptions and Untruths of a Bunch of Bastards Have Derailed America, by Al Franken with Joe Conason, Paul Krugman, and Eric Alterman. Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta plays a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with a serial killer.
—The Dark Tower, Volume 6, by Stephen King. An enigmatic time-travelling gunslinger continues his quest to simultaneously annoy and endear himself to the literary establishment.
—Please Don’t Tell My Story, by Jessica Lynch. The former P.O.W. recalls how she managed to prevent the entire world from using her life for propagandistic purposes.
—The Picasso Puzzle, by Dan Brown. A murder at the Prado reveals a bunch of Christian mumbo-jumbo and also something about the Bilderbergers and Guernica.
—2 Fast 4 Democracy, by Michael Moore. Survivors of 9-11 allow a left-wing megalomaniac to turn their grief into a screed against the Bush Administration.
—The Bat Cave, by Jonathan Lethem. Two mixed-race boys in a gentrifying 1970s Brooklyn neighborhood discover an invisible plane that gives them the power to write 500-page novels.