Is satire dead? Hard to say. The world keeps getting crazier and crazier, and that makes devising ideas and situations that are clearly ridiculous harder and harder. Still, if satire isn’t dead, and if any group deserves mocking, it is journalists. Author Deplora Boule (a penname, of course) was up to the task of writing a satirical novel about them. He published The Narrative early in 2018. The Loftus Party had the chance to ask him a few questions about it, along with the state of the nation and journalism.
Full disclosure: Both Paul Hair and Deplora Boule are members of the Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance.
The Loftus Party: Satire can be difficult to write, perhaps even more so in novel form. But judging by the positive reviews on Amazon, you seem to have successfully produced a satirical novel on modern-day journalism. What inspired you to write “The Narrative” and how easy or difficult was the process?
Deplora Boule: In my real-identity internet life, I hang out in a lot of rebellious fiction-writing circles. The right-leaning literary trend since the early Obama years has been heavy into dystopias, lots of “If we don’t stop these authoritarian Leftists, here’s what America will look like in 50 years” horror shows. I read them avidly for years, nodding along vigorously and pulling my hair out. But then came the day when I simply couldn’t turn another page of doom and gloom. I wanted to take literary action! Hillary (and a dystopian end to our beloved U. S. of A.) seemed inevitable, but then something miraculous happened: The Great Meme Wars, MAGA magic, and the jaw-dropping win of Candidate Trump.
I had previously been as serious a novelist as anyone, but the way forward suddenly shone clear: I needed to use my skills to point and laugh at the Left! And since the legacy media had been one of the most reprehensible players in our national drama, they were a natural target for the brunt of the story.
How difficult was the process? You try satirizing the Left these days. I had to go to absurdist literary lengths in order to out-clown the Left. Since Trump’s election victory, the Establishment has become an ear-splitting bellow of primal rage and has lurched from one ideological absolutist humiliation to another. At times, it felt as though I was simply transcribing what I saw on cable news. At other times, I threw up my hands in despair of out-satirizing real life and moved on the to the next plot point in the novel. (And yes, there is definitely a plot to The Narrative.)
TLP: The Amazon summary notes that, “When she’s pigeonholed as the media expert on an unlikely presidential candidate, will Majedah break the biggest scoop of the century? Or will the scoop break her?” Without giving away too much, does this mean that Majedah might have a character arc that readers wouldn’t necessarily expect?
DB: I’ve never written a novel that didn’t have a happy ending replete with redemption for the protagonist, and this principle holds true in my fledgling satire career. It’s also worth noting that I wrote every single character in The Narrative with love. There is no hate in this book, though there is ridicule a-plenty. I hope with nothing but affectionate concern that The Narrative helps the Left to see its own excesses.
That said, I don’t know about you, but I can’t sit through a novel that contains nothing but reprehensible characters. Yes, Majedah is a fully-woke, intersectional feminist, up-and-coming media journalist—one of the most loathsome creatures currently walking the planet. But I took care to plant clues throughout the story that she might not be the Progressive poster child she has always believed herself to be.
TLP: People have a difficult time agreeing on what constitutes “literature.” Anything that strays outside of a serious story set in the modern day where the plot revolves around the resolution of conflicts through dialogue and non-violent actions runs the risk of being labeled as “genre fiction” and “not of literary merit.” What are your thoughts on literature (specifically on if satire can be considered literature)?
DB: I’ve always thought literature is like porn—I know it when I see it. To me, it’s more of a style and a level of writerly accomplishment than any strict technical definition. It is the written word as art, akin to quality poetry; it transports. Personally, I don’t think satire (or any comedic genre) can be labeled as literature, though it can certainly be very high quality on own its own merits.
TLP: Journalists are clearly out-of-control, with them regularly spreading lies and hysteria. Yet they refuse to accept any responsibility for their actions, and instead are becoming even crazier. How far will their madness go and how is it affecting the nation?
DB: Sadly, there is no such thing as a journalist anymore, so I assume you are referring to the seething propagandists of Big Media and Big Newsprint. Once you understand them in their proper context—as squawking narrative-peddlers who are literally at war with normal Americans—you can predict that they have a long way to go before they find the bottom. There are always new lows for them to hit (while blaming their own behavior on the president). For example, CNN used the premise of Stormy Daniels’ book release to dedicate multiple segments to discussion of the president’s penis. “Professional journalists” utilized a report of the president saying “shithole” in a private meeting as a pretext to say it themselves, on the air, numerous times. And who could forget last summer’s Time Magazine cover that glorified presidential assassins as “Killers who changed history?” It hung on newsstands everywhere, printed in provocative red to catch the eye of every unstable, rage-filled potential POTUS-murderer.
I wrote The Narrative simply by taking Progressive insanity to its logical conclusions and writing what that would look like. I did this from a humorous satirical perspective but if you do it in all seriousness, you will have a better idea of how far the madness of “journalists” will go. I can think of some depths they haven’t yet plumbed: exposés of Trump’s minor child and grandchildren or doxing their elementary school addresses; getting hold of political enemies’ medical records and “reporting” on them; public reveals of ever-more-serious national security information; working directly with global socialist/communist activist groups to run air cover for their activities … Use your imagination! All is fair in love and war.
TLP: Some people like sequels; others do not. But most people agree that if an author writes something they like, they want to see more from him. So should readers expect more works of fiction from Deplora Boule?
DB: More fiction, yes, and perhaps the occasional commentary. But as of now, I have no plans for a sequel to The Narrative.