The Braindead Megaphone Thesis Can You Plagiarize College Essays
Though the magazine pieces that Saunders (In Persuasion Nation, 2006, etc.) has written for the likes of the New Yorker, Harper’s and GQ provide an inviting introduction to the unique stylist, devoted fans of his fiction will find their appreciation (and understanding) deepened as the author analyzes the effects that the writing of others has had on him.
Not surprisingly, the Chicago-raised writer turned “Eastern liberal” (his description) expresses affinity and affection for such native Midwestern humorists as Kurt Vonnegut (whom he celebrates as a seminal influence) and Mark Twain, while his geometric analysis of a short story by fellow experimentalist Donald Barthelme provides insight into both Barthelme and Saunders.
"Does very stupid media make us more tolerant toward stupidity in general?
It would be surprising if it didn't." The book forays into literary appreciation - not criticism per se (Saunders registers as a generous soul), but earnest attempts to usher the reader straight into the radiant hearts of "Slaughterhouse Five" ("not a recounting of Vonnegut's actual war experience, but a usage of it"), of Donald Barthelme's "The School" ("we follow because we find his courage thrilling") and even of "Huckleberry Finn" ("it locates itself squarely on our National Dilemma, which is: How can anyone be truly free in a country as violent and stupid as ours? But "The Braindead Megaphone" really shines when Saunders steps down from the podium and hits the road.
"I read [her books] and I thought that's what I want to do," Saunders said in an interview with Guernica, "I want to be one of the earth movers, the scientific people who power the world.
Absurdities and surrealities abound, yet no matter how bizarre their circumstances, the characters are convincingly drawn, with inner lives and voices that ring true.
Zombies return from the grave, only to shout desperate advice at the loved ones they've left behind.
"The Braindead Megaphone" is a collection of essays, not short stories, but it's still a representative and very welcome addition to the Saunders canon.
That's because essay is given the loosest possible definition, embracing everything from lighthearted, wholly fictional verbal badinage to earnest, in-depth field reportage, and in every case the author's trademark bricolage of the fantastical and the familiar is very much in evidence.