Lubliner (A Child’s Christmas in Queens, 2014) takes on presidential politics in this satirical novel.
Fillmore Pipp is an inoffensive Democratic president, notable only for the way in which his supporters project their feelings onto him: “Fillmore Pipp was the candidate of the well-spoken people who not only knew where they stood but took the lazy scenic route to get there.” It’s particularly off-brand, then, when Pipp makes a sex tape and allows his partner to keep a copy. His real dread is that if the tape is publicly released, America will learn of the smallness of his reproductive anatomy. It’s an urgent danger, as the Republican challenger to his re-election campaign is the hippie-turned–male enhancement guru Mel Kriegman, who’s known to be particularly well-endowed. Even worse, Pipp’s sex tape co-star, Mandy, gets recruited by a malcontent blogger to mount a third-party candidacy at the head of a movement known as the “Brown Baggers,” who symbolically express their dissatisfaction with the status quo by defecating in public while extending both middle fingers. The three-way contest quickly turns into a race to the bottom as each candidate attempts to sift through the muck to find the soul of the American voter. As sophomoric and scatological as this novel’s premise may sound, Lubliner’s America doesn’t seem so foreign from our own—particularly in the current election cycle. The prose is sharp and playful (“He was marked to be a leader of men because he was unfit for anything else”), and the author manages to sell ideas that would certainly fall flat in less able hands. The book benefits from its brevity (it’s only 120 pages long) and the fact that Lubliner keeps the plot skipping along quicker than readers can overthink its ridiculousness. Those looking to dive deeper into presidential campaign madness—rather than escape from it—could do much worse than this comic interpretation of our ever devolving politics.
A slim, funny satire of America’s electoral culture.