Satire in Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff Is Just What the Doctor Ordered to Help Fix America

Satire in Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff Is Just What the Doctor Ordered to Help Fix America

Sean Penn uses the oldest form of political dissent to speak up to power

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Where would literature be without satire? From George Orwell to Stephen Colbert, satire has carried us through every era of American history with cunning honesty.

I see satire is a form of social progress. As a college student, and attentive reader of the constant news cycle, I often rely on comedy as a way to digest and reflect on what it means to be an American today. The Colbert Report, SNL, Key and Peele, and Seth Meyers have safeguarded America's sense of humor by exposing truth through wit and subtle satire.

Satire is a tool to move stagnated conversations forward and disrupt the rhetoric commonly used to discuss sensitive topics. It steps outside the bounds of "political correctness" to reveal the absurdities that other forms of literature are too polite to discuss. That's clear in Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, Sean Penn's debut novel uses satire to take a good, hard look at the America of present.

The novel follows Bob, an average blue-collar American with a second life as a skilled assassin. Penn highlights the ironies and shortcomings of American society through the everyday trials and tribulations of Bob's not-so-average life.

Penn doesn't hold back with his commentary. It may be pointed and crass at times but his dialogue is necessary, especially considering the hefty topics he takes on and the caricature he paints of America's current political system. His work looks at issues with a wide lens and peels away the societal norms that protect them.

Social commentary is grounded in the ability to see and recognize the absurdity of one's cultural counterparts. That's absolutely necessary in today's society. We've spiraled into an ego-driven, shallow, social-justice-warrior version of what it means to fight for freedom and democratic ideals. Social media exacerbates this. It's a safe place to express outrage without action and feeds into a culture that encourages personal branding instead of personal development and substantive individual thought.

Never before has American culture relied so heavily on the power of the individual and cultivating that image to the extreme. "Branding is being! Branding is being! The algorithm for modern binary existentialism," Penn writes in Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff. Yet never before has the individual in American been so cowardly and unwilling to step away from the noise. Bob Honey does just that. It consumes the noise, digests it, and spits it back at us in the rawest form. In many ways, Penn calls America out on the funny-business that's gone on under the table for far too long.

Sean Penn isn't shy. There's satire dripping from every passage of his work – biting criticisms for a system he knows all too well. Satire allows him to express this in a way that's engaging and different. It gets people's attention in a way that any other form of prose can't.

The problems of our society are rearing their ugly heads in everyday life. Violence, xenophobia, and inequality are rampant. Too many are willing to tweet about it and then forget. But 140 characters is not enough to express nor capture the outrage that we all should be feeling. Like any other form of expression, getting down to the nitty-gritty of what's wrong with our society requires creativity. In the case of Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, it seems satire is just what the doctor ordered – a cure in the form of an average Bob. "His ability wasn't brandable, but it was Bob. Bob Honey."

We are bound by ideals, values, and beliefs that are the bedrock of American culture. At some level, society relies and thrives on that uniformity. But there would be no progress if writers and thinkers were not bold enough to challenge those norms. It's those ideas, expressed creatively as humor and satire, that will ultimately shape the society we become.

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An Open Letter To My College Freshman Roommate

Be sure to send this to your college freshmen roommate if you love them as much as I love mine!

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Dear College Freshmen Roommate,

To be honest, my first impression of you was a quiet, shy private catholic school girl. (Wow, this couldn't have been the farthest thing from the truth)! I remember walking behind you and your boyfriend on the way to the bars on our very first night of Summer B. I kept thinking how much you didn't like me because you didn't say hi to me. Little did I know, after admitting to each other our unfortunate first impressions of each other years later, you were just being cognizant of me because you thought I was a real-life version of Regina George from Mean Girls. It turns out you weren't the shy, private school girl I thought you were and I definitely wasn't as cool as Regina George after all.

Lexi Garber

It didn't take much time for us to become best friends. You had me at "So, do you know what a mountain melt is from Ale House?" After this day, I knew we were going to be lifelong friends and celebrate our passion for carbs, fast food, and sugar together. You make friendship seem so easy. You're always down to study whenever, leave the library whenever, and most importantly, get Chick-Fil-A no matter what our budget is or how broke we are. You always pick up the phone and support all the bad decisions I make. You ALWAYS figure out all my Wordscape puzzles for me and support my real life Candy Crush addiction.

Lexi Garber

I realize that you give me a slice of home when my mom doesn't answer the phone. I love that we always get to talk about our high school memories together because every story is a new and exciting one for both of us. Sometimes I'm happy we met in college because we would have caused way too much trouble in high school together. Besides, I get to hear about how much of an awesome volleyball player you were and I tell you about crazy my lacrosse years. Although, I will say how much it sucks when we go home for summer and winter break because I do get major separation anxiety!

Lexi Garber

When we go out, you know we're requesting ALL Luke Combs songs and sing until our voices are gone. Whether it be going out to the club, binge-eating, studying at the library, watching the Bachelor in your apartment, going to football tailgates or watching baseball games together, we are ALWAYS laughing. You have this amazing brightness and you only radiate positivity and happiness. I can't wait to see what the rest of college has in store for us. I feel so grateful that I got the chance to meet you and call you one of my true, lifelong best friends. I love you to Infinity (the place where it all began) and Back!

ROOM 416 INFINITY HALL ALWAYS!

Lexi Garber

Forever and Always,

your college freshmen roommate



Lexi Garber



Lexi Garber

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New Year, New You?

Is 2019 the year for you?

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As we all know, 2018 was not the best year for most people. For a lot of people, myself included, 2018 was a very stagnant and gloomy year. There wasn't anything extremely special or eventful going on and it also wasn't the most positive time of my life. With this downhill of 2018, I always come to thinking whether the new year of 2019 is going to be my year. When speaking upon the new year, is 2019 where we all change into new people? This question and dilemma of a new year always boggle me.


Through reading up on many people's experiences and thoughts of 2018, I firmly believe that 2019 is not the year for a "new you", but it is the year for an "improved and better you". 2019 will be an extremely better version of 2018 and I know that it is going to be one hell of a year. As a college student, I know that the new year will definitely be one of my most challenging years in terms of everything academic, but I also know that I will learn the most in this new year. Then, speaking upon everything else besides school, I know that this new year will bring upon many obstacles and challenges. Just from everything that happened in 2018, I can count on 2019 being the year of action and improvement.


However, one thing I felt extremely different about the new year was that it didn't really feel like a new start. From all the previous years, I felt that the change from 2017 to 2018 and others were more impactful than this one. When the date changed from 2018 to 2019, I felt like nothing really changed or anything special. This is more of a reason why I believe that 2019 is the year for improvement rather than complete and total change.


Aside from all of this "new year, new me" or "what the new year has in store for me", a new year does resemble a new and fresh start. We should all take this new year as a clean slate and learn from what happened in 2018 and the mistakes that were made in the past. With this, we should also learn to better our relationships with the people around us and learn to take responsibility for our own actions. One thing that I did not do enough was to take charge of my own actions and take risks. I know in 2019, I will definitely learn to take more risks and really go out of my way to get what I need to be done and what I want rather than just stand back and watch everything happen to me. As this new year is just starting, you should get ready for the crazy year ahead because I just have a feeling that 2019 is going to be one wild year.

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