Monday, April 20, 2020

Book Review: 'Those Arkansaw Bumkins: with The Oinky Boinky Machine and Elmo Frumpkin' by Preston Coleman

Those Arkansaw Bumkins by Preston Coleman

Pulling out all the stops – fine political satire! 

Maryland author Preston Coleman earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from the University of Georgia, his doctorate in media studies from the University of Iowa, and is a professor of communication at Chesapeake College. He has published and Having been the recipient of awards in teaching and research as well as satire, Coleman now is writing in what promises to be an ongoing series of satires of the highest order! His initial major volume was the hilarious and pungent THE LOST GOSPEL OF DONALD, a highly controversial satire on Donald Trump that boldly offers a fresh look at that personality!

In this collection of three stories Preston again demonstrates his acerbic skills in tackling Bill and Hillary (and Chelsea) Clinton, Richard Bach’s always popular Jonathan Livingston Seagull story, and an intensive survey of social dichotomy in civilian, judicial, racial, and political realms based on Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. His prose is at once eloquent and incisional, allowing fine stories to unfold as sharply detailed satire.

THOSE ARKANSAW BUMKINS: A GREMLIN IN HIS GOOBER borrows from L. Frank Baum’s WIZARD OF OZ in using a tornado to transport the Clintons (excuse me, the Bumkins – Billy, Hilda Hamrod, Chelsea!) from Arkansaw to ‘Capital City’ and the White Castle where Billy has his famous encounter with Little Gwen and his own little gremlin…Or as Preston handles the words, ‘The phenomenon of gremlin parasitism, as it is known scientifically, has been documented for years under various names: prophecy, possession, schizophrenia, charisma. Truth be told, there's no treatment for gremlins. They come when they want to, and they go when they want to. They do whatever they like, without regard for consequences. And their sense of humor is more dangerous than the purest human evil. Believe you me, the last thing in the world you want is to be inhabited by a gremlin.’ So many aspects of that administration are re-visited with raucous satire.

THE OINKY BOIKY MACHINE alters Jonathan Livingston Seagull into an ostrich whose head is in the proverbial hole and longs to fly and to rid the land of the Oinky Boinky Machine that kills is mother and is destroying the land – a fine parody of the lessons of learning about life and flight and self-protection in a pungently funny style.

ELMO FRUMPKIN parodies Mark Twain’s stories of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, pairing Elmo the hermit with Hannibal the transvestite African American weightlifter who escape jail to ride the Passahoochie (aka Mississippi) River and follows their adventures through revivals, wrestling matches, gators and golfers, a military invasion and a presidential campaign. Preston’s use of street language that brings attention to racial definitions is just one polished aspect of this excellent parody.

Preston Coleman is proving his status as one of the kings of satire writing today. And there has never been a better time for a court jester to reign. Very highly recommended.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.