"Fifty years ago, the three funniest writers in the English language were named Shaw, Mencken and Muggeridge. Today, they're named Thompson, O'Rourke and Christopher Buckley.Read this book and you'll die laughing. But as Wrong-Way Kennedy said, 'What a way to go.'"
-- Tom Wolfe
"Funny and devastating."
-- Entertainment Weekly
"Clever, erudite, sophisticated, funny and flip. Buckley shows that his antennae are ever alert to the absurdities in our world."
-- Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Buckley's comic muse -- and as Wry Martinis attests, he is one of the rarest specimens in his generation of that endangered species, the authentically inventive comic writer -- adorns the Benchley-Thurber line of social observation. He is probably the most versatile practitioner of that tradition today.... Wry Martinis has an astonishing range, all the way from the history of the miniskirt to the language of the New American Bible."
-- Boston Globe
is the perfect title for this intoxicating volume--though Christopher Buckley pretends he had a hard time coming up with it. But as his fans know, effortless superiority is Buckley's main m.o. In this collection of 20 years' of occasional pieces for such magazines as the New Yorker
and the New Republic
, he ranges from deadpan parody to devastating takes on all manner of American preoccupations, from celebrity to fly fishing to the Times
bestseller list. (No. 2 in Advice, How-to, and Miscellaneous: " Becoming God
, by Beepah Doolik. Self-deification in a single afternoon.") Usually all it takes is a single sentence to set Buckley off. In 1994, when USA Today
announced the expected launch of a 24-hour conservative cable network, he happily riffed on morning, afternoon, and nighttime programming. Suffice it to say that between 9 and 11 a.m., Phyllis! With Phyllis Schafly
will hold the screen. That day's episode? "Pacific tuna fishermen explain how dolphins commit suicide by hurling themselves into the nets; also: how to tell if your son is queer." (Please head straight to page 12 for further listings.)
Not that our provocateur doesn't have his serious side, too. It shows up in his explorations of his own military envy, asthma, and cluster headaches, but also in some unlikely zones--including a sympathetic profile of Eppie Lederer, better known as agony aunt Ann Landers. (When Eppie tells Buckley that her husband left her, "an eyebrow arches, the right dimple deepens like a Florida sinkhole.") And then there is "My Own Private Sunday School," two pages on talking to his 6-year-old daughter about belief and death. Of course, even here the mischief-maker shines through, since the beginner's Bible Buckley buys is sorely lacking in verbal panache: "The chapter about the Roman discovering Jesus' empty tomb is titled 'Surprise!'--which is sort of cute, even if it does make a pretty crucial New Testament event sound a bit like a panel from Where's Waldo?" Buckley is ever on the hunt for our foibles and endless absurdities; and despite his seemingly straight-up hilarity, his method requires the utmost skill, imagination, and--oddly enough--affection. --Kerry Fried
n the most inebriating humor book of the year, the author of Steaming to Bamboola and The White House Mess goes straight for the funny bone with essays and mischief that includes such gems of gullibility as the pope's appearance on Oprah, O.J. Simpson's search for a new apartment, the true story behind Whitewater, and so much more. Illustrations.