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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

April 01, 2004
White House Inc. Employee Handbook (Wooden, Bradley, Devore, Harper)

I adore reading humor It takes talent to write humor, particularly parody. Don't let the deceptive simplicity of Dave Barry's prose fool you. It's not as easy as it looks and it takes a lot more talent to translate a knack for satirical paragraphs into a sustained, book-length treatment of a topic than most people suspect.

I didn't find much evidence of that kind of talent in the pages of this book.

Jokes that might have been funny as stand-alone gags on a website or in a column come off as bitter and malicious when you pile them up by the hundreds. Page after page of sarcasm becomes mean-spirited and petty if you don't leaven the 'humor' with some more solid content.

Anyone who doesn't already agree with the authors isn't going to change their mind reading this and a lot of people who do agree with the authors may be made uncomfortable by the relentlessly bitter, angry tone.

The book reads like a series of in-jokes between the rabid followers of a particular point of view. There's almost no context for the opinions and little explanation of why each subject was chosen and why we're supposed to find the authors' jokes on the subject funny.

I even tried treating it the way you would any 'employee handbook.' I looked up topics of interest in the table of contents and read only that information. Still didn't find it funny.

Not recommended unless you're a huge fan of one of their websites and just want their opinions in handy book form.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:58 PM