This encore anthology of misanthropic writings offers another dose of satirical drama, essays, illustrations, asides, and a print-your-own Ph.D. diploma.
In this work, Reneau (MisAnthropology: A Florilegium of Bahumbuggery, 2003) includes four absurd “conversations” (dramas), “pontifications” (essays), and sketches by Mexican political cartoonist Rogelio Naranjo. The diverse subject matter includes the O.J. Simpson trial reimagined in the form of an opera, and a sci-fi drama with a gender-bending married couple intent on populating a planet. In his essay “The Perils of Satire,” Reneau discusses the risks and rewards of the form, saying “a ‘bad’ argument against the cause you promote can perhaps be more effective than a ‘good’ argument in favor of it.” He follows this up with “The Bugby Legacy,” a satirical guide to running an organized religion as an ultra-successful business. The book is peppered with various caricatures—like the bombastic news anchor Yam Snosnibor— who go blithely about their business, unaware of their human foibles. Playful buffoonery, clever wordplay, and ridiculous antics serve to lampoon humanity and religion. Reneau’s tone is prevailingly lighthearted. “We hitched a ride on a tedious trek to this turkeyhole in the sky?” asks a character who has just spent millions of light-years traveling to a new home. Readers should feel as if they are in on the jokes, even if some of the 50-cent words and creative language can be overwhelming: “Our task is to entice negotiables from the wallets of the illiterati, and convince these yokels that they will want to be able to comment knowingly on this Pillar of Western Literature at their water cooler or sewing circle.” The occasionally digressive conversations debate the American justice system and the First and Second Amendments. Reneau also tells jokes about various groups and icons, including the NRA and Abraham: “He was stopped from consummating this cockamamie deed when an angel of Yahweh suddenly appeared in the nickotime and assured this obedient idiot, who was just following orders, that he was only kidding.”
A lively Vonnegut-esque social critique that pretends to be esoteric buffoonery.