Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Savage Chickens by Doug Savage

People say that things change, but they really don't. They just go round and round again, with slight variations each time. And that's tremendously satisfying for us -- for one thing, it means we have to spend far less time worrying about what comes next, since we already know.

Take publishing, for example. There have been little books of cruel, funny cartoons for generations -- think of The Book of Bunny Suicides or 101 Uses for a Dead Cat. And there has been workplace humor for just as long -- exemplified by Dilbert for what seems like generations now. And Doug Savage [1] put the two things together -- funny little cartoons, about the bleak, depressing landscape we like to think we all work in -- and started posting them on the Internet, which lead inevitably to those cartoons being collected in a book.

The book is Savage Chickens; Savage draws his characters as chickens, which plays to his simple cartoony line and reinforces the "hapless loser" image he's going for. (He also draws all of these cartoons on Stick-It Notes; I don't have a deep art-history explanation or excuse for that, but I suspect it's because he can grab them for free at work.)

It's all pretty funny, on the same level as the books I mentioned above. Savage only has a few jokes here -- mostly "work is hell" -- but they're jokes we all know and have enjoyed many times before. But this is not a book to be reviewed or deeply investigated; it's a book to come across next to a cash register, chuckle a few times, and then buy on impulse, for yourself or as a gag gift. And the world still needs books like that, so I hope you'll come across Savage Chickens -- preferably randomly, not by running off to buy it on purpose -- the same way you found all of those Truly Tasteless Jokes books that you pretend you've never heard of.

[1] Not Dan Savage, the sex/relationship writer. Not Terry Savage, the personal finance writer. Not Jon Savage, who wrote books about punk rock. Not Rick Savage or Bob Savage or Don Savage, but a whole new Savage. And certainly not Savage Henry.

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