Friday, January 19, 2007

Art Buchwald, Great American Satirist Passes Away

Art Buchwald, the brilliant American humorist and political satirist has died. His razor sharp wit and keen sense of satire was able to cut through the absudity of many issues and paint them in clearly funny tones. Buchwald had been suffering from Kidney failure problems for some time, had refused dialysis, and his health and kidney function had rebounded somewhat allowing him a longer life than expected during the last year. He was normally only given a short time to live without treatment.

Buchwald's writings always displayed a great sense of humor, although privately Buchwald wrote his scathing satire out of some deep sense of frustration. Some like right wing writer, Ann Coulter believe themselves to be some sense of a satirist, but her mean spirited writings sometimes have seemed to condone violence against some public figures, and simply cannot be classified as the writings of a really rational person, and yet her audience of loyal fans seem to miss this obvious issue. Buchwald by comparison was always funny in an almost Alan Sherman sort of way, but avoiding the courseness of a Philip Roth, that certainly conveyed his personality and also never stooped to the lack of rationality like Coulter. Buchwald seemed to get it right on what constituted good political satire. He considered Richard Nixon to be the greatest gift to humorists like himself, although modern comedy writers have found much inspiration in the antics of Bill Clinton, or the sheer lack of common sense to found in great quantity in the Bush White House. Humorists cannot help but feel like a child on Christmas morning with such inspirational big gifts laid right on their door step on a near daily basis from such goofy presidential antics.

Some of Buchwald's books such as "I Never Danced At The White House", are a pretty fair representation of Buchwald at his near best. Buchwald's sense of political satire seemed to grow with the advent of the NATIONAL LAMPOON magazine and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE during the 1970's, offering a college aged generation a new more hip venue for political satire, leaving Buchwald as the favorite for older readers, and these new venues as favorites for younger persons interested in political satire. But the inspiration of Buchwald on many humorists cannot be understated. Indeed he inspired many great humor writers on the proper ground rules for writing good satire. Buchwald will indeed be greatly missed.


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