National Parks

| August 8, 2016


Disguised as a semi-dystopian look at America in a few years, this is a delicious satirical send-up of the beltway culture, a paean to our national parks, and an exposition of characters, hilarious, irritating, and very human, who struggle in the Washington web. The author extends current political idiocies to their reasonable, logical, and hilarious conclusions. Along the way, he offers surprising predictions of how current and proposed inventions will affect our future lives. Some of those predictions are happening even sooner than the author expected.

Many of the characters that inhabit the pages of National Parks are instantly and indelibly recognizable. Noble and base, they mirror our highest aspirations and lowest common denominators. The author mixes them all in a froth of comic conflict.

The director of the national parks, Agatha Jackson, collaborates with green defense lawyer, Portia Merson, to defeat the assault on the parks. Tureen O’Porto, a beautiful lobbyist of questionable moral character, joins forces with the parks’ defenders, not realizing her actions could be fatal. Opposing them is, among others, Senator Deborah Hatchett, who has her own less than honorable reasons for pursuing the sale.

There are a lobbyist with a secret toe fetish, a computer genius who creates an x-rated video avatar game, a Chinese gangster looking for respectability, an industrialist intending to dam the Grand Canyon and sell high-priced water to California, corrupt legislators, and, of course, lusty heroines, birth, death, and betrayal .

In other words, business as usual.

Here is award-winning author David Aretha’s review of National Parks-

Author Rolf Margenau, a Korean War veteran who’s sharper than the rest of us, delivers a fresh, scathing, hilarious, and brilliant satire of greedy corporate America and our shamefully broken Congress.
Set roughly 20 years in the future, Congress considers the Parks Act, which calls for the national parks to be sold to private investors. The politically involved Crouch triplets (worse than the Koch brothers) are giddy about purchasing the Grand Canyon, as they envision damming both ends to create a water shortage and then selling their water at inflated prices.

In Margenau’s future America, corporations—with Congressmen and justices as their puppets—gain obscene amounts of power. In the Supreme Court’s eyes, “large corporations are determined to be more equal than ordinary citizens by virtue of their size, the large number of people in their employ, [and] the status of their executives in the world community….”

Margenau… is relentless in his political and social satire—not just in plot, but in the use of language. In debating the Parks Act, network news “talking heads” engage in a “tsunami of blather [that] submerge[s] rational intercourse.” Lobbyists are even worse, spewing lies at an hourly rate of $1,500. At one point, Congressman Sneath talks with lobbyist Tureen O’Porto: “Sneath suspected her internal bullshit meter was approaching the red zone, but he plowed on.”

Margenau’s sardonic wit is a big step above Saturday Night Live’s and on par with Stephen Colbert and John Oliver, both of whom would benefit by having this octogenarian on staff. I can envision each of those comics pounding the table in laughter, like I did, while reading National Parks.


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