The secret source of humor, Mark Twain famously observed, is not joy, but sorrow. This collection of short commentaries from the prolific and sharp-tongued social critic Barbara Ehrenreich suggests a corollary principle: The secret source of satire is not bemusement, but anger. And make no mistake—Ehrenreich is mighty PO'd.
The targets of her ire are a deserving, if predictable, bunch. Wal-Mart, health care execs, Big Pharma, the superrich, and, naturally, the bigwigs of Bush Co. all get drive-bys here. Ehrenreich imagines a notorious corporate layoff artist consigned to a fate in which he is faced with "a choice of Dick Cheney or Nancy Grace as a roommate and spending eternity listening to Sanjaya's greatest hits." In one of her more purely comic essays, Ehrenreich demands that God apologize for the South Asian tsunami (his "latest felony") and decries his "penchant for wanton, homicidal mischief."