Weekends are a total bust for me, writing-wise, and this last one was no exception. The fact that it snowed heavily the other day didn’t help, either, although you’d think that spending so much time indoors would actually inspire one to stick their ass in the chair and crank out a few hundred words. But you’d be mistaken.
I wrote my column for the local paper on Friday. While I usually stick to a straightforward commentary on a hot topic like immigration or the fact that a registered sex offender just moved into the neighborhood, this time I decided on a whim to write in a completely different format: the satire.
I love irony, I love sarcasm, and I love Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central. I’ve never actually tried writing any satire of my own, though, so I was a little apprehensive about the project. However, the idea in my head was just too funny, so I thought, What the hell, if my editor doesn’t like it, I can always give him something else.
Normally, when I write one of these columns, it takes me anywhere from two to six hours, depending on the subject and research requirements (if any). This one, though, was such a joy to write that I think I was finished in less than two hours, which of course made me a little nervous. I think that good writing must always involve some wailing and gnashing of teeth, otherwise its quality is questionable.
Anyway, I chose to satirize the gay marriage controversy, particularly the claim by certain politicians and conservative Christian groups that gay marriage threatens the institution of marriage in general, not to mention our nation’s family values. It’s a rather simple piece, nothing quite so gut-busting like this Colbert Report segment, but it’s actually not too bad, if I may say so myself. To make sure I was doing it right, I did some quick research (okay, I went to Wikipedia — isn’t that were you would start?) on the history of satire. It was eye-opening to read about how this particular literary form has been used by some of history’s most prominent writers to influence public opinion on issues ranging from slavery to poverty to Hitler and the Nazis. I’ve never read Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal, whereby he recommends that poor parents sell their children in order to afford food, but it does sound like juicy reading, no?
And what woman wouldn’t want to read Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, about the women in ancient Greece who were are so fed up with the Peloponessian War that they refused to have sex with their husbands in order to secure peace? Anyone out there friends with Laura Bush? How ’bout Lynne Cheney? Anybody?
Anyhoo, back to my essay. I had B. and a friend read it to see if they got my point, then sent it off to the editor. I’d be interested to see the reactions, if any, from the paper’s readers. It’s completely different from what I usually write, so I’m not sure what to expect. The town leans toward the conservative side of the political spectrum, and I know there will be a few who will take the piece literally and believe one of the following: (a) I advocate gay marriage; (b) I advocate child abuse; (c) I’m a God-fearing woman who would never allow a gay man or woman to step foot into my home; or (d) I’m totally bonkers. I’d love to hear from one and all.