The power of the media is so expansive even the most average of things can take on a connotation of celebrity through a few words deemed newsworthy. Top that power with the advent of YouTube, and we find overnight media sensations everywhere.
In Clump, An American Splatire by S. Redman White, we are introduced to a frenzy of the strangest kind. This dark satire takes us into the industries most revered, and pokes fun at the differing greed and self-interest often manifested.
Investigation of an attempted suicide takes detectives and emergency personnel to a hotel where an unidentified man has used a shotgun to blow off his head. The graphics of the description are quite vivid. The blast takes off the head and yet leaves just a tongue and a bit of brain matter. As the investigators tend to the scene, they are in for a huge surprise. The man is still living. Rushed to the hospital, he is put into the hands of Doctor Tetlow. Here is where the truly bizarre comes into being. Finding that this headless human seems to be able to live on its own, Tetlow takes advantage of the situation, using the situation to make himself famous.
The headless body is out of control and dangerous, and yet one of the orderlies, nicknamed Cannonball for his size, finds that music soothes the savage soul. Well, sort of.
The louder and more obnoxious the music, the more Clump (as he has been dubbed by the media) reacts. He begins a strange yet oddly alluring form of dancing, using moves from different forms of fighting. Cannonball is so excited at this new phenomenon; he tapes it on his cell phone and broadcasts it via YouTube. A new sensation and cult addiction has just begun.
White creates a creepy and “splatiracal” look at the ability to take the absurd and make it real through the power of suggestion. Whether that suggestion is at the hands of the media, or the cults that find and follow these strange videos, there is a connection as to how perception of stardom occurs. White takes his story and pokes fun at the different committees and groups in business and how they are run. He pokes at the different industries and keeps you entertained with the endeavors of this strangely homicidal headless man.
His characters are entertaining and much of the nonsensical situations are laugh out loud funny. This is not a novel for the faint at heart; there is some graphic scenery and the humor may not be for everyone.
If you enjoy your satire dark and adventurous, you will find this evocative “splatire” an interesting addition to your library. This novel might also be an interesting addition to a reading group, one that is interested in satires that may carry just a bit of truth. These thoughts on different industries could create quite a bit of dialogue.