Make 'Em Laugh

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  • Topic: Finley Peter Dunne, American humorists, Philip Dunne
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  • Published : January 2, 2013
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| 12/20/12|
| Megan McClain
|

[Make ‘Em Laugh]|
Comparison of Two Satirists: Art Buchwald and Finley Peter Dunne|

“You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it,” emanated from the pen of Art Buchwald. The paths of two humorists intertwine through history as they create the same type of work for America, and the world, to see. Both Finley Peter Dunne and Art Buchwald have laid down their opinions through varying forms of literature. In any medium of words, newspapers, novels, or even poems, Buchwald and Dunne took the path of satire to shed light on the community. By definition Satire (noun) – is the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing folly.

Finley Peter Dunne wrote with a past of growing up in an immigrant society, even though he was born in America. The character, or pseudonym, he took on to express his views was one of an Irish saloonkeeper, Martin Dooley. Published in the Chicago Evening Post, the series of 750 word monologues of Dooley’s brogue comments on subjects varying from presidents, to the social structure of Irish communities throughout the country. Art Buchwald, like Dunne, had endless capabilities as soon as he was given a voice with The Herald Tribune. “Given” would be a poor word choice since he pushed his way in with his witty tongue, despite his reputation of packing up to find something else to write about. Buchwald and Dunne’s columns united readers with their blatant and funny portrayals of reality.

As a common human characteristic, humor appeals to the public and can be used to wrap and tie an idea around someone’s head. With over a fifty year career, Buchwald’s opinions and views were regarded always with the highest respect because he was relatable. Stating the honest reality of the world in the form of a newspaper column gained the trust of readers around the world. In the late 1800’s when Dunne was writing as an Irishman, his comedic and somewhat sagacious commentaries could be identifiable with almost every immigrant grouping in America. In one of Dunne’s columns, On Making a Will, Dooley says “It’s more comfortable to feel that we’re a slight improvement on a monkey thin such a fallin’ off fr’m th’angels.” Though some people are still skeptics on evolution, Dunne briefed his stance in a visual and humorous way that was deemed acceptable even for the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

During Dunne’s career, he found a target in President Teddy Roosevelt as did Buchwald in President George W. Bush, “The president has 10 wise men he keeps talking to about what to do in Iraq. He holds a course, changes the course, and when things really get rough, he goes down to Crawford, Tex., and cuts brush on his ranch.” As a kind of an anomaly, Dunne ended up inciting a friendship with Teddy Roosevelt. Most of Dunne’s ridicule towards Roosevelt was in regards to the Spanish-American War and it gained him political notice. With a spotlight in politics, Dunne was not only relatable to immigrant communities, but to anyone who appreciated his sly humor. After his political emergence, hiding behind the pseudonym wasn’t the purpose, but taking the role of a more relatable and exciting character promoted intrigue in his column, “Th' newspaper does ivrything f'r us. It runs th' polis foorce an' th' banks, commands th' milishy, controls th'ligislachure, baptizes th' young, marries th' foolish, comforts th' afflicted, afflicts th' comfortable, buries th' dead an' roasts thim aftherward.”

Dunne and Buchwald were men ahead of their time and bright individuals. Honing in on their skill of writing satire left them with the power to address things seriously as well. After an acclaimed career and Pulitzer Prize, Art Buchwald was capable to confess his own battles with depression at a lecture, and also advise listeners how to overcome the dark and seemingly endless disease. At this same lecture, he started his spiel by...
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