Too many people take themselves too seriously.
I had that thought back in 2013 when I began to form an outline for my satirical campus novel, “Whole Lot of Hullabaloo: A Twenty-First Century Campus Phantasmagoria.”
Even though I graduated in 2014, I shelved the book until 2020. By that time, academia had somehow become more ridiculous. With activity limited due to COVID-19 lockdowns, I decided that if the regular publishing world did not want reality in front of it, then bad.
After some further revisions, as well as professional editing, I independently published my novel in the fall of 2020. Since then, critical reviews and reader feedback have shown that there is still an appetite for fiction that is not diluted by the misery of out-of-control PCs. .
The story begins in the now seemingly distant year 2011. Troy Thomas is a sophomore at Central Ohio University and lives a normal college life with his best friend and top lacrosse player, Ian Mueller. One night, Ian arrives at a costume party off campus dressed as a “Miami Vice” character in a controversial way.
Everything is normal until Ian receives an email from the university administration. Without Ian and Troy knowing it, a fellow student was severely offended by the costume and threatened to bring the incident to the local media.
A whole series of quarrels arise while Troy tries to understand not only his friend’s actions, but also the reactions and behavior of the university community and other local residents.
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After graduating from college in 2007 and hearing campus reports over the years, the change in the atmosphere of college life has been shocking to me. What had been a place of growth and relative freedom shifted to a world of acidity and censorship without the moral fiber that generally accompanies such climates.
The academic world has asserted a cloak of moral superiority despite the fact that it looks stupider with every false indignation. It’s an environment ripe for satire, and satire the hard I did.
Growing up, I enjoyed 80s teen comedies by John Hughes and his fellow Reagan-era filmmakers that I came across via VHS and cable. In addition, I appreciated the almost-forgotten 90s campus classic “PCU,” and others introduced me to Mel Brooks’ brilliance.
As my literary interests expanded during college and immediately after, I turned to 20th-century British comic book writers Kingsley Amis, Evelyn Waugh, and Anthony Powell. These influences, along with a support for the synthwave culture and its appreciation of entertainment for the sake of entertainment, led me to dive into the bear of contemporary customs by letting the reader think without telling them what to think.
And do this with a blinking eye and a small smile.
I hope more that you will dive into “Whole Lots of Hullabaloo”, whether it is printed or e-book, than selfish reasons. I want consumers to be more picky about the entertainment they buy. No, this is not a quarrel to tell you what to read, see or hear. There’s just too little time to pay attention to media that think their audiences are stupid and need lectures that were banal back in middle school.
The crusade of contemporary “good taste” judges is to remove every stereotype, with the exception of those they approve of, and try to destroy what was considered quite harmless just a few years ago. In their wake, they have created new stereotypes and failed to replace what they were trying to remove with something close to being satisfactory.
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There is a reason why there are several YouTube channels with millions of views where people respond to popular movie, TV and music classics. It is just as clear why the studies mine deep into franchises from decades past.
Much of today’s entertainment is too preachy, dismissive, and forgettable.
That does not have to be the case. However, it does not look like the pain will stop. Do yourself a favor and look for artists who will treat you like an adult but still let you have fun.
Christopher Fried works in maritime international shipping and logistics. His novel, “Whole Lot of Hullabaloo: A Twenty-First Century Campus Phantasmagoria”, was published in the fall of 2020. In addition, he has published poetry as well as book and film reviews. Since 2019, he has been in the Advisor Circle for the upcoming 1980s sci-fi film documentary “In Search of Tomorrow” (2022).