How it all began
Back in the summer of 1991, I began writing news articles for Phyllis Schlafly’s Education Reporter. As I learned more and more about the preposterous programs and policies to which public school students all across America were being subjected, I realized that the journalistic exposé was insufficient to capture their absurdity and that satire was what was called for. I’d written limericks for years, just for the fun of it, and decided to adapt this light-verse form to my purpose.
In my first “blackboard jingle,” I poked fun at the disingenuity of sex-ed instructors who pretend to offer “balance” by combining prophylactic and abstinence perspectives:
When a boy and a girl have a date
And it looks like he’ll get to homeplate,
They must have protection
To ward off infection,
Though it’s better, of course, if they wait.
I devoted a second limerick to drug-education instructors who offer similarly ambiguous advice:
JUST SAY NO?
Today we discovered the thrills
Of powders, potations, and pills.
Our teacher gave plugs
For all sorts of drugs –
To test our assertiveness skills.
As it happened, 1991 was also the year when George Bush, Bill Clinton, Ross Perot, and miscellaneous unmemorable others were gearing up for the next presidential election. There was quite a lot of confusion as to why Perot was even in the race, so I took it upon myself to offer an explanation:
PEROTS & CONS
“Perhaps some of you are at a loss
Why I want to be President Ross.
It’s simple, you see:
It’s better for me
If I am the one who is boss!”
Another limerick was inspired by a longstanding pet peeve of mine, the boneheaded practice of television anchormen “explaining” to their viewers what they and the viewers have both just seen together:
Jennings, Rather, Brokaw
Seem determined to jabber and jaw.
They think we’re too dumb
To discern the outcome
Of the campaign debate we just saw.
The problem with limericks is that they tend to become addictive. Once you start writing them, it’s hard to stop. Over the last 20 years I’ve churned out quite a few of these political limericks (politickles) and have distributed them on a weekly basis to email subscribers (subscribe at politickles dot com).
Politickles are the verbal equivalent of editorial cartoons. They make a point quickly, forcefully, humorously. Like editorial cartoons, they’re ideal for energizing allies or demoralizing opponents. So, please, take advantage of them. Feel free to publish, post, or pass on “Your Weekly Politickle,” and encourage your likeminded friends and relatives to subscribe.