Luncheon Sausage Books
Hilarious, sharp, a bit bonkers – often perfect. I am of course referring to Braunias’ brand of satire/coverage in this election campaign diary as taken from the pages of Metro and padded out to standalone volume with new intro and outro. But I could just as well be talking about Steve Braunias’ writing outside and away from this particular example. He’s New Zealand’s best writer of political satire, our best observer, in fact I should actually have just stopped back when I said he’s New Zealand’s best writer. Certainly, Braunias’ column-writing prowess, extending over now to internet pages and several collected volumes in the old-fashioned print medium, is fearsome, hilarious, sharp…a bit bonkers.
Braunias’ great skill in all of this, as if that wasn’t enough, is in the way he has such fun. Contempt for it all – subject, readers. His words dance across the page with a main goal of pleasing their writer. From there it’s all a bonus. That it then ends up being so entertaining, and here we’re talking about a book of election coverage fashioned for sale after the event, is the final proof we’re dealing with a freakish talent.
Yes, yes, the material was – quite clearly – there. It took a satirist to point out just how absurd it all was. But saying that the material was there, without identifying it at the time much less creating it, is the type of lazy non-observation-masquerading-as-observation Braunias has trained himself to jump on.
Madmen: Inside The Weirdest Campaign Ever probably deserves to be added to Political Science course reading lists. It certainly belongs in any home where the reader seeks a chuckle and hopes to appear slightly smarter at the end of a book, as well as dazzled by the abilities of the author.