Sunday, January 23, 2011

Knucklehead's Blog-Off Round 3: Satire

And we're back for round three of Knucklehead's Blog-Off 2011!  The field is down to five, and this week we'll be saying goodbye to two more contestants.  Next week we'll have the semi-finals, where we determine who'll make it through to the much-anticipated finale.

But first things first.

This week's topic is "Satire on a Current Event."  Our Final Five will choose a recent news story, celebrity, or other item of interest and skewer it in their own inimitable fashions.  Click on the links below to read their entries, and then journey back here to Knucklehead! and cast your vote over in the sidebar.  Voting ends at 6:00 Pacific on Wednesday the 26th.

Here's the linkage:

The Fred Effect
Musings From the Big Pink
Too Many Mornings
Wrestling With Retirement

Good luck, contestants!


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Quirkyloon said...

Yeesh. You and your Pacific Time zone.

I've already read ALL the entries and voted.



(oh my heck! your word veri: goggibeg! I kid you not! Even I couldn't come up with something that silly! and that's a hard thing to do! and now let me go proudly type: goggibeg. hee hee)

Diane said...

I really enjoy your blog and I loved the contest last year, but this year isn't as good. Honestly, not all of the contestants are following the rules. As a teacher and a contestant's fan, I had to say something. I imagine that as a principal you can respect that.

In the first round, at least one entry was a childhood story with no narrative. In the second round, only 4 contestants followed the directive of observational humor (admittedly a rough category last year, too). Now, some of your contestants clearly didn't write satire.

If this is a writing contest...

Chris@Knucklehead! said...


Chris@Knucklehead! said...


Thanks for your input. I agree with your assessment to a point (though the childhood story met the criteria, as far as I'm concerned), but because this is a "friendly type" contest, I'll leave it to the voters to sort out.

Thanks for visiting!

Diane said...

Thanks for responding.I understand your point, too. I said my piece, and am making my peace. I'm sure you know the slightly pedantic nature of teachers. I'll be back soon. BTW, I loved the Saving Private Andy post.

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

Diane raises two excellent points. The first one, that we suck at writing, I accept. The second one, that we're not following the rules, seems a little school-marmish to me. I like rules, and they're very useful when it comes to playing sports and games. They're also useful when you're learning how to write. But a lot of the best, most creative writing playfully---sometimes even angrily---bends and breaks the rules in ways that surprise readers. Not that I've done that here, mind you. I just know it's possible.

Diane said...

Hmmm. Since I already admitted to being a pedantic schoolmarm, I'm not sure of your aim.

In a competition the rules are the point -- to be the best within the constraints of the contest. If you take a taxi to the finish line of a marathon, they don't give you first place for being "creative." In soccer, they don't give you a "visionary" point for kicking the ball into your own net.

If it says write a satire, write a satire. Don't write a verbose commentary that leads nowhere with no purpose and hide behind Faulkner. As for the rest of your "the best" nonsense, "the [gentleman] doth protest too much, methinks."

Sorry Mr. Knucklehead, if this got out of hand on your site. As I named no one, I didn't expect such a condescending, aggressive response from one of your contestants. It's funny what a guilty conscience can do.

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

Nope, I don't feel guilty at all, Diane. I truly don't. I've written it all with intent, and meant it to be what it is.

I didn't mean to sound like I was jumping on you so hard, though, and I apologize. I only used the term "school marmish" to parrot what you said, which I've found is very helpful when I'm dealing with teachers, who depend upon hearing their own words repeated back to them. Anyway, I've been pissing people off right and left tonight. I even got unfriended on Facebook for the first time. I was just trying to engage you, and perhaps others, in a little discussion about the nature of writing.

I don't think you're sports analogy holds water here. As I apparently failed to adequately point out earlier, rules can't be violated in sports because that destroys their meaning and unlevels the playing field, so to speak. But that's not the case when it comes to writing. The rules aren't so rigid, and they shouldn't be or we'll risk losing creativity and progression.

Now, about satire and lack of narrative. I don't know whether you're referring to me when you're talking about satire, but I think my current events piece qualifies. It might seem like I didn't live up to Knuck's rule because I didn't pick a particular current event to satire. Why? Because I believe the coverage of current events itself has become a current event, and I certainly used irony, sarcasm, ridicule and the like to expose, denounce or deride this modern folly in verse or prose.

My first entry in this competition, meanwhile, might be perceived as lacking narrative. It certainly wasn't a story---I was a kid, this happened to me, here's what I learned. It was an anti-narrative, if such a thing exists. I was kid, nothing interesting really happened to me, here's how I feel about it, sort of. Of the three pieces I've entered in this contest so far, it was my favorite, precisely because it broke form.

But I admit that I might be an idiot. An abrasive idiot, even.

One thing I know, though: This competition sparks some interesting thoughts and feelings for both the contestants and their readers. I love that part, and I hope everybody else does, too.

K A B L O O E Y said...

A fight! A fight! Yeah, I'm mature.

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

Oh good, it only took TWO weeks for our first fight this year.

As I've said before, the main point of this Blog-Off every year is to gain readership for bloggers who, in my opinion, take the writing craft seriously. Obviously, for the "contest" to work, there need to be some parameters. Hence, the weekly categories.

This week, Fred did not adhere to the guidelines, as he freely admitted within the content of his work. I mean, unless we're going to believe that his dog Toby actually wrote it. Now, I COULD just throw the yellow flag and disqualify Fred outright, and one could argue that I should, to avoid other competitor going off the reservation next week.

Instead, though, I trust that the voters (he says as though there are thousands) will haggle it out amongst themselves and judging by the results so far, they're doing just that.

Regarding Mike, I thought his literal interpretation of "Satire on Current Events" was pretty clever and since current events by definition are current events, his submission this week is completely on within the scope of the rules.

Anyway, I always enjoy hearty debate, so keep at it everyone!

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

Why do I keep getting into these fights, Knuck? I like people, I'm a friendly guy most of the time, and try not to be abrasive.

Oh, well, it's all in good fun. Thanks for providing us with a forum.

Homemaker Man said...

"I only used the term "school marmish" to parrot what you said, which I've found is very helpful when I'm dealing with teachers, who depend upon hearing their own words repeated back to them."

Dude, I don't know what your aim is here, and I'm sorry to interject myself into this conversation, but my wife is a teacher, and the quote above is nothing but nasty and condescending. It implies that you deal with teachers in a manipulative manner because you feel that they're below you. It also belittles the entire profession.

Again, sorry to butt-in, but that was just too shitty a comment to ignore. Maybe we can chock it all up to the fact that you had a bad day.

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

I did have a bad day, actually. An awful day.

Just to be clear, though, I love teachers. My best friend in life is a vice priciple at a junior high school, and my wife worked for years in the public school system as an occupational therapist. I think my comment sounded snarkier on paper than I meant it to be in my head. My point wasn't to be insulting, I was just using her own language to describe how I felt about the situation. And I guess a secondary point was that teachers need their students to remember what they hear.

It all came out badly.

I sincerely apologize to everybody, especially Diane. Although her initial critique seemed insulting and unfair, and definitely hit me the wrong the way, I take full responsibility for inflaming the situation. You're all great writers, and I consider some of you friends. But I'll quit the competition immediately if you want me to. Similar fights erupted last year, and it was stressful instead of fun.

Homemaker Man said...

Dude, if he quits, does that mean I automatically get his spot?

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