By Dr. Alec Pruchnicki, MD
“Fred Trump was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.”
My response to Trump’s recent election win started with these lines, which turned into a book I recently published. It’s not just any book, but a political satire with Trump at the center.
Like many others in my political club, the Village Independent Democrats, I was stunned by Trump’s election. I stopped watching the news and cable talk shows. Not only couldn’t I stand to see Trump on TV, I was nervous about the Democrats’ lack of action, too. The only reason I didn’t lose faith in all of humanity was the fact that Clinton won the popular vote, for all the good that does.
Years ago, I tried to get a book of political satire published, but as an unknown author in a somewhat difficult genre, I was unsuccessful with the hundred agents and publishers I contacted. I gave up. With Trump’s election, my urge to speak out, in print, was revived. After seeing a movie version of A Christmas Carol, I realized that Trump could serve as a perfect replacement for Scrooge, and his father Fred would be a workable replacement for Marley. My book, A Really Huge Christmas Carol, Believe Me, was then born. I heard good things about self-publishing—particularly, no begging agents and publishers—so I would do it myself.
In a futile attempt to get it published before Christmas Eve, I took a few liberties with the writing. I made the book short, about a hundred pages. There are numerous references to New York City political characters and to many of Trump’s own statements during the campaign. But, I didn’t really explain who these people were and where the Trump quotes came from. To really understand all the inside jokes, people might have to do a little internet searching, unless they are political junkies like me and might recognize obscure references.
The book is both juvenile and Juvenal. It is juvenile in the sense that some of the jokes, snide remarks, and situations might seem corny to those reading them. After all, I am still an amateur. But, it is also Juvenal, in the sense that it is satire turned weapon, the way Roman satirist Juvenal used it 2,000 years ago, or the way Jonathan Swift used it in A Modest Proposal to criticize Great Britain’s Irish policies.
Satire and ridicule can sometimes be an effective weapon, like the demonstrations, petitions, and political organizing that have sprung up since the election. This last point is most important, and not as pessimistic as my opening line here. Pessimism, apathy, and nihilism are not answers to the situation the country finds itself in. People who have traditionally been active in political clubs, single payer advocacy groups, and community groups are now energized and more determined than ever to organize and resist. Even new people, previously unengaged, are starting to become active.
Trump’s victory has catalyzed resistance as much as his campaign energized his supporters. And, there is plenty of need for more people to join in. Believe me.
A Really Huge Christmas Carol, Believe Me, is now available via e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers, and will be available in paperback in late February.