If you’re going to satirize the workings of government, is there any literary vehicle more fitting than farce?
That’s what author Jim Geraghty – contributor to National Review sets out to do in The Weed Agency: A Comic Tale of Federal Bureaucracy Without Limits, and he largely succeeds.
His chief obstacle, of course, is the definition of farce itself which is a comedic work illustrated with “ludicrously improbable situations.”
It is a challenge to fabricate situations more ludicrously improbable than what actually occurs in the real world federal bureaucracy.
Gertaghty’s story follows a group of federal officials – several employees at the fictional USDA Agency of Invasive Species as well as some politicians, both real and fictional – from the late Carter years through the George W. Bush administration. The intent is to illustrate the unstoppable growth of even the most redundant and pointless of federal spending, and Geraghty does it well.
But while you might expect that liberal Democrats would be in Geraghty’s crosshairs, given his day job and the subject matter, in truth those skewered the most viciously are Republicans.
Newt Gingrich, in particular, gets a devastatingly unflattering portrayal.
The point is, this is probably an enjoyable read regardless of your political leanings. Sure, it’s a work that seeks to ridicule bloated government with humor which appeals to the political right, but we all know that the government is too large for its own good.
And Republicans aren’t spared by Geraghty when it comes to the blame.
Really, this is the sort of work the conservative movement needs more of. Conservatives tend to get a bunker mentality when it comes to discussing the “gargantuan, ever-growing, ever-less-accountable, impossible-to-uproot federal bureaucracy” (as Geraghty describes it in the book’s forward), issuing dire, no-joking-around declarations.
But while the situation is dire, sometimes you get more traction with a bit of humor.