Badpuppy Gay Today

Monday, 30 March 1998


A Testament For Our Times

Book Review by Jack Nichols

THE BOOMER BIBLE: A Testament of Our Times By R. F. Laird, Workman Publishing, New York, 1991 Approximately 800 pp., $14.95. Web Site:

The Boomer Bible, a laugh every semi-minute, is also a milestone literary indictment of today's culture. There will be those who will say, after they first discover it, that its a writer's regurgitation of what to many appears to be a horrendously perverse timeframe, one in which our generations are not, unfortunately, playing with a full deck.

This book –a huge presence—is only $14.95. Cheap for so much hilarious wisdom. The Book of Dave (a look at Hollywood) is certainly more contemporary—somehow—than the Book of Job. And after all, though some may prefer the Christian record known as The Book of Matthew, there's nothing like The Boomer Bible's Books of Vinnie, or of Ned.

This massive volume is at once a brilliant parody of the Kings James layout and testament about our times that nothing else can match. This is because Bible-satirist R.F. Laird, a wicked, giggling genius, has had a unique revelation, if not more than one, and he'll/she'll (whichever it is) no doubt be recalled by pundits in the future as the One Who Lowered the Boom.

I bought Laird's book at Barnes and Noble, finding it in the humor section. I can't say I've read it from start to finish. It is, after all, at least 800-odd pages, laid out in such books as Kinesis, Meopotamians, Psongs, Exploits, and Rationalizations. But I have been sitting with it resting on my wobbly knees for days. I'm thinking— for this week anyway-- of getting a fancy little alter for it. Well, for this month, maybe. And then? What will I think then?

Author Laird offends every extant group, so its not like she's/ he's picking on any special groups, is it? The Yanks and the Brits and the Krauts and the Wops and everyone else's favorite identity is giggled at in The Boomer Bible's wide-raging pages. Is Laird therefore one of those misanthrope comics? Who knows? I picture him toasting himself with a cocktail of sorts at night while writing another devastating chapter in the history of irreverence, the fare in his Boomer Bible.

Beyond the bluesy horizon of Laird's mind, I see, there's a sunny expanse. Myself, ever the innate, (some might even say semi-naïve) optimist, I find that the really amazing thing Laird has done in the face of all his stellar depression and disappointment with the universe and the human condition is to turn every bit of such disappointment into an endlessly funny but absurdly grotesque belly laugh.

This magnificent book is Laird's reading of present-day history. Like the better-known Bible which it mimics, it has a Past Testament— telling how we've arrived in our present predicaments. Clearly, the end of the world is definitely not going to spoil R.F. Laird's guffaw party. He'll laugh at every one of the dumb dorks all the way along our torturous, thoughtless, silly routes to a hopelessly ridiculous Armageddon.

Ordinarily, one might be tempted to find Laird guilty of a kind of monstrous hubris of the spirit or something. But the author—having written a whole Bible, after all,—isn't that easy to pigeonhole. He's somebody to come to terms with. If he infuriates, charms, teaches, or just fulminates in inebriated high-powered bursts, he leaves it to you to either learn or harshly judge him.

My decision was simple, to learn from this scandalous fellow (or gal, switchever). In fact, he/she places at any reader's disposal some of the best one-liners in contemporary literature. If The Boomer Bible is anything, it's a classical text that scales the heights of impiety.

One of the prefaces to The Boomer Bible –the first--recoils from the book's text in a kind of mock horror. It begins: "For a dedicated scholar of American literature, there can be no more difficult task than of introducing an obviously inferior piece of writing to the reading public."

It continues: "Make no mistake: it is well-nigh impossible to think of a racist (or otherwise ethnocentrist), religious or sexist slur that is not enshrined in what passes for the scriptural language of The Boomer Bible. Nor is this the only offensive element of this work. For it would seem that the author(s) of The Boomer Bible were resolved from the start to libel everything they touched, with special malice reserved for all subjects pertaining to the twentieth century. Indeed, it is quite literally impossible for any contemporary reader to work his/her way through this assemblage of bile without encountering multiple instances of insults that seem deliberately calculated to offend his/her religion, his/her profession, his/her taste in literature and art and music, and/or his/her preferred lifestyle."

In the body of the Boomer Bible, the much-revered 23rd Psong, is thus satirized in the following words:


Money is my thing: It's all I want.

the deepest waters.
3 It restores my self-esteem;
it takes me wherever I want to go,
for my own sake.
4 And even if I have a life-
threatening disease, I won't be
afraid, because I'll have Money
with me; and the doctor and his
staff will do everything possible to
comfort me.
5 Money keeps bread on the
table, even though I have
enemies; Money makes me
look good too; my jar is just over-
flowing with Money.
6 And surely now I've figured it
all out: Money will follow me all
the days of my life; and no matter
what happens, I'll be in the Money

This giant book is a must in the libraries of the literati. Its publishers modestly say that "only once in ten years, if we're very lucky, does a book like The Boomer Bible come along. It's the kind of book that makes you laugh, makes you angry, makes you question, makes you cringe, makes you think and shout yes! in agreement. It's the kind of book that thoroughly defines its times"


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