Have you ever thought of an invention to help mankind that never got passed the idea stage, and someone else beat you to the punch? Or noticed a really hot girl you wanted to ask out, but before you worked up the nerve to make your move some other idiot swept her off her feet? Well, that’s likely going to be the reaction of many a man who has used his imagination and argued with his friends about who would win in a fight. I know it’s mine and is the reason I want to beat the crap out of Jake Kalish, but more on that later.
In Santa vs. Satan Kalish has compiled a hysterical collection of some of the greatest fights never to occur. He has broken down and analyzed imaginary fights that many young boys growing up have discussed with their friends the world over, both real people (Muhammad Ali vs. Bruce Lee) and imaginary (Han Solo vs. Indiana Jones). He examines archetypes (Virgin vs. Whore), stereotypes (Aunt Jemima vs. Uncle Ben), and nerd types (Dungeons and Dragons Players vs. World of Witchcraft Players). Although to be fair, he should receive credit or blame for the ones that likely grew forth in his twisted mind (Small Man with Breasts vs. Large Balding Woman and Necrophiliac vs. Ghost of the Dead Woman He’s Screwing) of which there’s plenty to go around.
Experts in their field and other commentators provide analysis, but as in all sports, they don’t always correctly predict the outcome right as Kalish describes his version of the fight. And even he is not prone to error as he incorrectly calls the winner of the Samurai vs. Gladiator fight when both get killed in the end, neither by the other’s hand.
The sense of humor of Kalish and contributors is wide ranging, from subtle witticisms (he references Russell Crowe in the aforementioned battle without mentioning his name) to easy and tired gags (Bert and Ernie are gay, Scientology is lame). Overall the book is packed with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, including unintentional ones by Rachel Pendergraft, national spokeswoman for the Ku Klux Klan, who doesn’t get the gag about Hollywood Liberals and The Jewish Media vs. Honest, Hardworking Americans or John Calvert, managing director for the Intelligent Design Network, who tries to set up a different fight than Adam vs. Charles Darwin.
The book concludes with appendices of All-Time Combatant Rankings (where Kalish and the proofreaders let a misspelling of Krusty the Clown go through under Simpsons Characters. I point it out to add to Kalish's feelings of inadequacy, which I hope to exploit at a later date) and the Sociocultural Significance of These Imagined Altercations.
Santa vs. Satan is one of the funniest books I have read in a while, which would fuel me in my fight with Kalish whose strengths obviously include organizational skills, dedication to completing a project, and a good sense of humor. I would channel my rage at not seeing a great idea in front of me and would organize a large posse of equally angry daydreamers who will all think, “Hell, why didn’t I think of doing that?”
However, I will only use the mob to strike fear in Kalish’s heart, assuming he has one, and forego physical violence. Instead, like most men, I know that Kalish is his own worst enemy and will inevitably be responsible for his downfall, allowing me to keep my hands from getting dirty. I open Santa vs. Satan to page 153 where the outcome between Artist vs. Critic has already been determined. I quote, “The Winner: Critic (KO).”