A 21st-century war in a vicious and vulgar America pits the elderly against greedy adult children and drugged-up bounty hunters carrying out a White House mandate to exterminate most citizens over age 59.
This Swiftian spoof presents an immodest proposal: a second civil war erupts in the 2030s in a U.S. dominated by alt-right conservatives in both the “Red Tweet Republican” and “Blue Blog Democrat” parties. Aging baby boomers—aka “Snow Tops”—have been declared detrimental to the economic well-being of the God-fearing nation. Their constitutional rights, Social Security, pensions, Medicare, and prescription meds are revoked. Then, after popular Ronald Reagan–idolizing President Bobby Partridge is assassinated by a militant Snow Top, his fascist vice president, Ashley Paine (Ann Coulter with a dash of Donald Trump), though in her 60s, escalates the war on seniors. She implements concentration/liquidation camps and bounties placed on the scalps of Snow Top “does” and “bucks.” Newscasters cheer “age cleansing,” with the media typified by Shock News, whose star anchor is a predatory, ultrapatriotic 12-year-old. To be fair, the oldsters aren’t prizes either, with the ones readers meet being PTSD–ridden veterans, ugly racists, wrinkled conservative commentators, grizzled Hollywood types, and a bloodthirsty Ted Nugent–like rock star. While thousands of Snow Tops fall as pathetic casualties to tattooed hunters, others become cunning guerrillas and form resistance cells. Author and cartoonist Sirtup (Flyland, 2013) apologizes up front to anyone he may offend with his satire. One presumes this is Lemony Snicket–esque insincerity, as this trilogy opener delivers a fulsome blast of brash, unbound, transgressive political humor of the sort seldom seen since the glory days of National Lampoon and the underground comics of the Nixonian 1970s. In his gory tale, Sirtup relates intrigue and abundant homicides via crosscutting across an ensemble cast in punchy, pun-laden chapters interspersed with simplistic drawings, a technique he calls “paparazzi fiction.” And he renders recognizable pastiches of Bill Clinton, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Michael Moore, George Clooney, Jay-Z, and Beyoncé. Occasionally, things get comparatively serious, as when the narrative focuses on Solomon Grindy, the conscience-ridden last employee left at the defunct Social Security Administration, approaching 59 and reluctantly joining the new Underground Railroad. Here’s hoping that in the sequel the premise doesn’t—dare we say it?—get old.
A bold, unsparing burlesque of new conservative nastiness and ageism—with presidential assassination and genocide—that threatens to Make Political Satire Great Again.