So, for the very first time, I have been issued a blog challenge. The lovely Fuse#8, Newbery Medal panelist and children's librarian extraordinare, has tasked me to re-write this (go read) and make it funny.
Oy. I try and limit my bad-mouthing of people to no more than 126 times a month, and Paul Rudnick and I have tangled before (well, insomuch as me attacking him via a one-sided blog post, while he's busy taking a limousine to his second limousine which takes him to his limousine-encrusted mansion, all the while being unaware of my existence counts as "tussling"). However, this seems to me to be a particularly egregious Shouts and Murmurs for two reasons.
1.) It's of that S&M family wherein a writer stumbles upon some soft news item in the back of Newsweek, takes 10 seconds to get the gist of it, then writes 500 completely un-trenchant words on the subject, while giving the impression that we should be grateful that he deigns to focus his Olympian wit on this wrongheaded nook of modern life. Oh the foibles! THE FOIBLES!
2.) He's making the same smutty joke over and over. (a) Find children's book (b) insert dirty word (c) repeat. In effect, he's simply playing the old porn movie title game-- hey everyone! Saving Private Ryan is now Saving Ryan's Privates! Ha Ha! Rudnick is dabbling in the job that hardworking porn screenwriters do everyday, without mainstream respectability or New Yorker cachet. They're the true heroes.
Anyway, considering that this is clearly a one-joke premise, the best strategy is to get in and get out. No point in using 500 words, when brevity is the s of w. With that in mind, I've re-written the piece, focusing only on the titles. Sure that turns my version into a simple list, and lists are the lowest form of comedy writing (although I've certainly done my share). But at least it doesn't belabor things.
Is it funnier? I don't know. I honestly didn't want to spend more than 10 minutes on it. But it's better than Marci X.
* * *
The Barenstein Bares Go to Nudist Camp
The Little Snatch Girl
This One's Pretty Much Porn for Teens, by Judy Blume
Dear Mr. Henshaw 2: Mom Said I Shouldn't Write to Adults on MySpace, but...
The Monster at the End of My Pants
Blueballs for Sal
Amelia Bedelia Misunderstands What it Means to "Butter the Muffin"
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
* * *
Okay. I feel dirty now. I promise not to work blue for a year.