Friday, October 15, 2010

CombatWords October 15, 2010: Satire

CombatWords October 15, 2010: Satire

So I love the Beandog Militia—what can I say? They are deadly satirists. When they're not busy mocking some poor degenerate on Twitter, they're busy mocking everybody & everything else—selves included. In fact, they've got the #tcot (Top Conservatives On Twitter) believing a conspiracy theory THE BEANDOGS PROPOSED! This is sheer win of course, for when the subject of satire actually starts to believe his/her satirist, it means the satirist has effectively entered into the satirized party's personal narrative. Write satire directed at any target you'd like... even yourself.

Combat Expiration: Midnight PST, 10/17/2010

Critique Expiration: Midnight PST, 10/18/2010,

Bonuses: +2 for comps that post by 8pm PST 10/15/2010; +1 for comps that post by 2am PST 10/16/2010. -1 for comps that post by 6am 10/17/2010; -2 for comps that post by 12pm PST 10/17/2010

The Rules:

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  1. Gloomparrots

    He chained himself to a rock then cried out to his followers, “Look what the Masters have done! They seek to punish me for bringing you the fire of truth, for lighting the way to lead you through the labyrinth of their lies!” He wept and pretended to struggle against the restraints that kept him bound to the guano-splattered boulder of his belief. In time, he cried out to a passing bird, “Great bird! Come feast upon my entrails! Pluck out my liver, uproot this sponge of bile that has been planted inside of me!” For he had been shown in a vision that the organ would grow back overnight, and that the daily spectacle of his evisceration would be hailed as a miracle even the Masters could not ignore. They would quake in fear as the people rose up against their big government spending, their plans for socialized health care, their nefarious plots to tax the little guy into oblivion. But the bird –he couldn’t tell from down here if it was a buzzard, or a bald eagle, or just an oversized budgie- flew on, ignoring him as he lay there, calling out to it, all afternoon and into the evening. Even in his sleep he spoke to the bird (miles distant by now), his eyes shut but his tongue still flapping like a great wet wing all through the night.

  2. Of Moons and Passing Glances

    Tick-ticky, tick tick, ticky tickety tick.
    On screen: “It was a dark and stormy night.”
    “That is pathetic” thought the black and white dog.

    Ignoring the impossibility of balancing a laptop
    on the peak of a roof, he climbed down into the
    dog house. Poured a tumbler of Bushmill’s and
    cracked a PBR.

    He eyed his dwindling stash, and then thought better
    of it. “Not fucking worth wasting on this shit”
    he thought, leaving the roaches and the glassine
    pouches alone.

    His roommate, blond hair sticking straight up like feathers,
    sat back in beanbag chair huffing on a tremendous joint.
    “Problems?” he asked, smirking.
    “C’mon dude, just work it out, you got a deadline..”

    “Write some of that deep important shit, man,
    blow my mind…” With a withering glance
    the dog turned away, dumping the tumbler onto
    the drainboard, thinking about the ocean of poetry

    on the Net. “More like a sinkhole” he thought.
    Filled with umpteen fucking roses, passing glances,
    stolen moments, implied perfumes, declarations
    of love, and always fucking moons, fucking meaningful moons.

    He climbed back up to the roof and cleared the screen.
    Ready to write his poem.
    Tick-ticky, tick tick, ticky tickety tick
    On screen: “It was a d….”

    Sigh. “I hate fucking poets” he thought.

  3. Ordinary Excrement/
    Alternate Time Period

    A coat and tie stops
    a passing shopping cart
    to ask if it can spare
    some freedom or maybe
    a few pieces of mind.
    The shopping cart
    ignores the intrusion
    and mumbles
    “quit yer job asshole”.

    A group of ponytails
    and short skirts peer
    over a construction fence
    to ogle the hard hats
    as they sweat
    in the late afternoon sun.

    A new pair
    of black Florsheims
    stalk the sidewalk
    in search
    of an unsuspecting
    pile of dog shit
    or a freshly discarded
    piece of chewing gum.

    The desk clock
    refuses to move a hand
    and instead
    flies a bird salute
    at the pressed empty shirt
    that sits in the chair
    once occupied
    by possibility

  4. Steppenmancer [CombatWords Story, October 15, 2010: Satire]

    A bundle of haywire nerves twitching, Ant flicked his his AR (short for Augmented Reality) shades off his face and surveyed the howling neon street. It looked just like that Macy's Thanksgiving Parade with all that rainbow colored trash blowing in the 'roid rage wind. The last time Ant saw a rainbow was in two thousand and three, but that didn't bother him.

    He was going to be late. Ant pumped his legs past a nodding doorman with plastic eyes. A parked corvette told Ant to "BACK OFF! THIS CAR IS PROTECTED BY VENOM!" A clean-shaven Caucasian with an erection touched ants forearm and directed his attention to The Golden Phallus. For these occasions, Ant carried an aerosol spray can filled with LSD: he sprayed the man in the face and ran to cross the street before he lost the light.

    While sprinting across Union Square, Ant put his AR mirror-shades back on: it was almost time. He sprayed LSD as he waded through the crowd, past the drug dealer doing handstands on his Segway (Calvert Jackson: Age 22; last known address...); past the liquid-crystal prostitute (Age 19; Amber alert in 2007), he walked next to the stage and smiled at The Candidate's ex-Spec Ops bodyguard. As Ant's thumb depressed the detonator, he thought of all the heroes to come. Just think: if one man can kill The Candidate, imagine what will happen when the whole world goes Anarchist.

  5. @rtoady: Gloomparrots

    Liked it/Haw Haw: +1
    Bird names create their own sub-narrative: +1
    Promethean wannabe interplays nicely w/ non-specific current events : +1

    +3 – 0 = +3

    @PPiotrowski: Of Moons and Passing Glances

    Metanarrative: +1
    Not feeling it dude: -1

    Misc: Pick something & stick to it. Too flighty.

    +1 -1 = 0

    @SMG: Ordinary Excrement/
    Alternate Time Period

    Funny/ILI: +1
    “quit yer job asshole”. +1
    First 3 stanzas are solid, tho 1st is best: +1

    Last stanza is confusing: -1

    +3 -1 = +2

  6. On War (an old one)

    War is a game that grownups play
    and children learn to like
    Your birth is innocent and pure
    But soon you long to strike
    It brings such pleasure when a fist
    Connects, inflicting pain
    Oh such a lovely game, this war
    Let’s play, let’s play agan

    War is a game that children play
    Because they like to win
    And war defines the other guy
    As Bad, and you’re not him
    And war makes you a hero too
    Who wields his sword for good
    Whoever said that war is dumb
    They never understood

    Oh war, with captains, partisans
    And generals galore
    It fuels creativity
    That inner golden ore
    It lets you show your bravery
    Your shiny brotherhood
    Whoever said that war is bad
    They never understood

    Ah war, the dance of figureheads
    The terror felt by men
    The joyful sound of treaded cogs
    The choirs sing ‘Amen’
    It brings you closer to your God
    It’s an acquired taste
    Our peaceful times are such a drag
    Don’t let war go to waste

  7. pp: Of Moons
    This is my favorite of your pieces so far, but that could be because I'm a big Peanuts fan and was tickled by the references, especially to his "roommate".
    Liked +1
    conflation of Snoopy eternally writing his terrible novel w/internet poetry +1
    Weak ending; you could probably just drop the last line and be better off. -1

    SMG OX
    Interesting piece; I like the way you use all these inanimate objects. I disagree with KW about the last stanza; I thought it was fine. I'll be honest though; I'm not totally sure of what you're satirizing, unless it's corporate culture in general, the job market...really, I'm not sure.
    Liked +1
    Idea of shoes actively seeking out trouble to step in +1

    KW: Step.
    This was quite enjoyable, but I have to say, though I get the Gibson reference, I'm confused about where Steppenwolf fits in. Could be I'm just missing something. Nice way of both parodying WG's style and also satirizing the cyberpunk/terrorist ethic in general.
    Liked +1
    Captured a different writing style well +1

    (I'll get to you tomorrow,, later today, I mean. You posted while I was writing this and I'm beat.)

  8. Toady: re: the Steppenwolf reference, do you remember when he's hallucinating a revolution? Something like, "after the revolution, the rifle will be the last machine we dismantle..."? That's what I was thinking. I was going to echo the line, but I thought it would be too heavy handed. Maybe not?

  9. @PP, damn, I did you wrong man. Totally missed the Peanuts angle. If I could change my score I would. You can critique my critique at least & peel off the neg.

  10. KW:
    I haven't read Steppenwolf in close to 20 years, so I don't remember the hallucination part. Maybe it would help to echo that line for those like me with weak memories.

    Either that or you could include a verse from "Born to be Wild".

  11. RT
    The Prometheus/Teabgger martyr complex was done very well: +1
    Bird ignoring him/Not knowing what the bird is was nice touch: +1

    My favorite piece: +1
    Peanuts references made me laugh: +1
    Bushmills and PBR: +1
    Woodstock description: +1

    Very interestingly written: +1
    I didn't get it:-1
    Oh, it's William Gibson--Now I get it: +1
    Nope. Still dont' get it: -1

    Really like the title: +1
    It's very funny: +1
    I think I've read the Florsheims image from you before: -1, although if not then disregard.
    Hey, I'm now an SMG conoisseur!: +1 for me
    +1 (I think)

    "It's an acquired taste:--Nice!: +1
    There was a very consistent and steady rhythm to it, which probably took some work: +1
    That also worked against it, IMHO. Felt kind of predictable and workmanlike, which undercut some of the powerful images: -1

  12. forpuck On War:
    Liked it +1
    Loved that late Victorian tone with Romantic era stylings. By eschewing dactyls et al & longer lines, you avoid that ponderous tone of Swinburne (luv him tho) & Tennyson (not so much), keeping it light like Byron. +1
    Funny w/ a clear narrative. Net result is what would be called children's poetry, were it not for the dry tone. In combination, it's one of my favorite pieces I've read by you. +1

    Don't stress about the typos. No neg.



    Her name was Clara Deveraux, but they’d given her the codename Gaia. She was the newest student at the Xavier School for Gifted Students, one with the power to manipulate geological forms. In spite of her shyness, the girls immediately took to her because of her preternatural ability to render physical beauty with a pencil and paper, male physical beauty—the likes of which was not present at the Xavier School.

    Like all young girls, the Xavier girls all admired the idealized male form. Young Jean Grey’s walls were adorned with photos she had taken with portly Stormtroopers and flabby Green Lanterns from the sci fi conventions she liked to frequent, while Kitty Pryde’s knees would squeeze together in Geometry class every time she thought of the pasty doughboys in her Fanboys of Peoria Underoos Calendar. The boys found it very annoying, rolling their eyes at the unrealistic and highly sexist portrayal of men in popular culture, and took very little comfort in the fact they were being the mature adults in these situations.

    The administrators at the school paired Clara with Alison, also known as Dazzler, who they hoped would bring the shy girl out of her shell. Alison took her new room mate immediately, taking advantage of the girl’s artistic skills, commissioning one erotic sketch after another—A pencil-necked geek here, bifocaled dork there—which made her the envy of all the other girls.

    Alison’s favorite commission was a drawing Clara called “Gilbert Coontz.” He was a 43 year old who lived in his parent’s guesthouse and built custom action figures. For the past few months, he’s been unemployed, but he used to stock magazines at Borders until he showed a female coworker the tentacle rape scene from Urotsukidoji. The drawing captured everything young Alison wanted in a man—His neck was so skinny, his Adam’s apple so prominent, it looked like Olive Oyl’s kneecap.

    Her boyfriend, Angel…Or Iceman…Or…Some…Other…Guy (I don’t fucking know—I happen to know what a blowjob feels like!) hated these drawings. You can’t arch your back like that if your stomach’s huge, he’d shout. Man boobs don’t stick out like that! he’d scream.

    But Alison didn’t care. She would lie in her bed, listening to the soft, steady breathing of Clara’s sleep state, with hand inside her panties, dreaming of the reams of slashfic Gilbert Cootnz wrote—A legion of mummies having their way with Lara Croft, Scooby Doo and Astro having their way with Judy Jetson, Astro Boy and Voltron leaving the ghost of their seed in a mimetic polyalloy shell.

    There were no men like that in real life. And Alison knew this. She could make her boyfriend dress like Boba Fett a hundred times over, but his grotesque abdominal muscles wouldn’t have the heft to push out the chest plate, flap out of the sides like an open Pillsbury canister. These thoughts always crept into her masturbatory excursions and made her feel empty as she shuddered and clipped her shaky breath.

  14. Hope you knew I was kidding/it was out of love, KW. Look at it as more a statement on my own ignorance. I've never read Gibson and I'm not too bright.

    Jesus, look what I wrote. I should be ashamed of myself.

  15. J Chon: Slashfic
    Loved it: +1
    Tone is so serious. Really a flawless replica, but made out of plutonium... so... awesome... +1
    Paragraph 1, hilarious: +1
    Paragraph 4, hilarious: +1


  16. @RToady @SMG: I think you're right w/ the final stanza, I just wasn't reading well last night. So SMG's score adjusts to +3 instead of +2.

  17. Exorcism (1/2)

    The priest stood over the bed, gold and jewel encrusted cross held out to the girl tied to the bedposts. “I cast you out, unclean spirit,” said the white collared man, not for the first time that day, “along with every spectre from Hell, and all your fell companions.” He touched himself and then her on the brow, lips and breast, his fingers dripping with rose scented water, “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!”
    “Amen.” the two other people in the room obediently murmured. The woman with the tear stained eyes worried rosary beads through her fingers, mindlessly counting them over and over, as she prayed under her breath.
    The man was more stoic but his lips were a thin, tight line and his hands were clenched until the knuckles were white. He stood behind his wife, there to support her if needed.
    The girl observed this as she twisted and turned against the bindings that held her; she'd struggled so much in the hours since she was restrained, that her wrists and ankles were red and chafed. At first she tried to tell them that she wasn't possessed by a demon but they looked at her as if she were speaking another language, huddling together in terror. She gave up speaking to them and spent her energy trying to get free from the bonds.
    Her renewed efforts spurred the priest, in his vestments and purple stole, to greater passion, his prayers loud and fervent. “Hearken, and tremble in fear, Satan, you enemy of the faith, you root of all evil and vice, author of pain and sorrow!” Spittle flew from his mouth as he spoke.
    The girl stopped her struggling to watch the emotions play across the priest's flushed face. “Begone, now!” he crossed himself and her, “Begone, seducer!”
    A voice from the doorway exclaimed, “What's going on here?” The owner of the voice, a young man in a white lab coat, stepped into the room.
    The woman turned around, “Oh, Michael, thank you for coming home. Father John says Angela is possessed by Satan!”

  18. Exorcism (2/3)

    The man blinked slowly as he processed the information. “Possessed? Why would you think that?”
    The priest didn't answer Michael's question, instead he kept on his his litany. “Depart, impious one!” He showered the girl in Holy Water, “Depart, accursed one, for God has willed that man should be His temple!”
    The woman moved out into the hallway, pulling Michael along side her. She lowered her voice so as not to disrupt the priest, “She practically attacked her father this morning.”
    “Attacked how? Was he hurt?” asked Michael. His parents were devote Catholics but his sister and himself were less inclined toward superstition.
    “She attempted to kiss him!” His mother was scandalized while he father stood there in red faced embarrassment.
    “Did she say anything?”
    It was his mother's turn to blush, “She said they needed to propagate the world. That it was time for them to take their rightful place as rulers of this planet.”
    Michael rolled his eyes and patted his mother's cheek. “It'll be okay, Mum. Angela's not possessed by a demon.”
    He stalked into the room, pulling a hypodermic needle from the pocket of his lab coat. He injected his sister before she had a chance to protest. Within minutes she slumped over in a drugged stupor. Michael put on a pair of latex gloves and asked for a container with a lid and a pair of kitchen tongs.
    The priest stopped his endless litany as the occupants of the room were surprised into silence. Michael's mother hurried to the kitchen and returned carrying a stockpot with a lid and a pair of tongs she used when serving spaghetti.
    “Papa, can you hold the pot? Be sure to put the lid on it as quick as you can once I extract the creature.”
    His father silently did as he was asked, standing on the other side of his unconscious daughter. No one in the room asked questions, they barely drew a breath, as they waited on Michael.
    Michael held his sister's nose with one hand and opened her mouth with the tongs. He pushed the tongs to the back of her throat, wiggling them around a bit before exclaiming, “Ah-ha! Gotcha!”

  19. Exorcism (3/3)

    Michael pulled out the tongs and along with them came a long, snake-like thing with mottled blue skin and half a dozen red eyes. It squirmed but Michael held it tight in the tongs. He plopped the creature in the pot and his dad hurriedly put the lid on it, holding it down tightly so the thing couldn't escape.
    Michael looked up with a satisfied smile to find three pairs of wide eyes staring at him.
    “What? Haven't any of you heard of the Gliese 581 F parasite? They arrived here with the astronauts we sent on the last mission to that solar system.” He took the pot from his father, beaming with pride.“The guys at the lab are going to be so jealous I caught one in the wild. This will make my career!”

    The prose was very well put together, fluid and logical: +1
    Very timely Gliese 581/God is dead debate: +1
    I like that the life on Gliese 581 is hostile. I may get to live out my Independence Day fantasies yet. "Welcome to Earf" POW!: +1

  21. forpuck, on war:
    technically pretty good, few metric glitches here and there, okay rhymes. I especially like the last stanza. +1
    While I like the sentiment, this has all been said before a thousand times, and in more creative ways. Feels trite. -1

    Chon, Slashfic:
    Hilarious and cutting +1
    Urotsukidoji reference; Jesus that was funny. +1
    Perfect serious tone as KW noted +1
    that the blow job line breaks the spell, too intrusive. Really the only false note in the piece. -1

    Vandamir, Exorcism:
    Good mash up of genres +1
    Made me laugh +1
    Writing could be tighter, but a quick edit will fix that; it's not worth negging for. Overall enjoyed.

  22. @Vandamir, Exorcism:
    Good incremental humor: +1
    Liked it: +1
    Mixing genres worked well, kept the reader off balance: +1
    Reads rough all around and could use sharpening. -1

    +3 -1 = +2

  23. @rToady
    Like the use of myth: +1
    Loved this line: "his tongue still flapping like a great wet wing all through the night" +1

    Loved the Peanuts theme: +1
    Always suspected Charlie Brown was a pothead: +1
    I agree with rToady, last line not needed: -1

    Like the idea of clothing being more important than the person inside them: +1
    Liked the last line "the pressed empty shirt/that sits in the chair/once occupied/by possibility" +1

    Liked dystopian view of the future: +1
    This line made me laugh: "BACK OFF! THIS CAR IS PROTECTED BY VENOM" +1
    Overall seemed too derivative: -1

    Liked how war starts in the minds of children: +1
    Great line: "It’s an acquired taste" +1
    Rhythm made it very difficult for my overly medicated mind to read: -1

    Made me laugh: +1
    Interesting mix of genres: +1
    Adding the narrator's thoughts ruins the scene: -1