The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Chris Buckley's New Book

Thank You For Smoking is brilliant. This sounds good too:

Mr. Buckley has a worrisomely tough time laying the groundwork for this premise, but his idea soon yields the exquisitely dizzy, Wodehouse-style mischief that is his specialty. Although his jumping-off point is generational warfare, it leads straight into a riotous morass of political ambition, with a screwball array of special-interest schemers embroiled in intricate, back-stabbing machinations. As one character sweetly summarizes this author’s outlook: “My, my, my, how very different are the workings of government from what we all read about in books as children. I wonder, do the Founders weep in heaven?”

If they do, they also chuckle — and wait worriedly as the huge, spoiled baby boom cohort of America’s population prepares to barge in. The title of “Boomsday” refers to the point at which this generation becomes eligible for Social Security — and ready to demolish the federal budget. So the book invents a prophetic heroine named Cassandra Devine who sounds a rallying cry to her fellow 20-somethings. Stop paying taxes, she urges, and create financial incentives for boomers to commit suicide. To his credit Mr. Buckley knows that this plan goes far enough. It’s much funnier to watch how these ideas are mauled by the legislative and electoral processes than to keep on one-upping them with wilder demands.


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