Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Satire's Outer Limits

"Sometimes the biggest source of irritation comes from within. Every man must come to terms with his own failure. Every college dropout, fired employee, or middle manager will carry with him the seeds of contempt that will later manifest itself in an angry, vitriolic discharge - sometimes in the form of a book."
- Maddox

So if there's one word that could be used to describe the work of George Ouzounian, much more popularly known as Maddox, it's crass.

This is to be expected. After all, Maddox is one of the Internet's most famous and long-running satirists. His book, The Alphabet of Manliness (Extended Edition), perfectly reflects the writing style he employs in his personal site, The Best Page in the Universe - brutally inappropriate satire brimming with profanity with copious amounts of misogyny and misanthropy.

To put it bluntly, the book is not for everyone. Just like the articles Maddox publishes online, each chapter discusses one particular 'manly' topic, often in what seems to be the tone of a spiteful manchild.

Is it a wonder that both editions of The Alphabet of Manliness became bestsellers? Not really. In writing this book, Maddox has willingly volunteered himself to be a scapegoat and wrote about topics that most people would avoid. The book contains topics that are deemed taboo by most standards and one can't help but have one of two reactions, sometimes simultaneously - laugh and get offended.

Marshall McLuhan once said that jokes are grievances. It is probably a safe bet that this book and any person who can relate to at least one thing the author says would prove that to be true.

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