Top Shelf's Savvy "Veeps" Campaigns to Sweep Blue and Red States

There's been a veritable Vice Presidential squall the past month, complete with potential scandal, raucous argument, pundit puffery, good imitations of Mongolian throat-music from Right and Left, classic Saturday Night satire, and in general a soap opera of pit bulls, lipstick, and scenic views of Russia from afar (I welcome that awesome day when I approach a country's coastline and all knowledge about it auto-downloads into my brain).

Into this mazy-mess of an election process comes Top Shelf, which enters the arena with the soon-to-be published Veeps: Profiles in Insignificance by Bill Kelter (illustrations by Wayne Shellabarger). As the press release puts it, "Over more than 200 years, the American voters have sent a platoon of rogues, cowards, drunks, featherweights, doddering geriatrics, pillars of hapless ambition, bigots, and atrocious spellers to Washington D.C. to sit one bullet, cerebral hemorrhage, or case of pneumonia away from the highest office in the land."

Our latest VP even shot a man in the face--and got an apology from the victim! You'd think that would be hard to top, but Veeps succeeds in making face-shooting seem banal compared to some VP antics. Arm-severing anyone? For example. "I don't want to work. But I wouldn't mind being VP again," said Thomas R. Marshall, the 28th vice president of the United States, but after reading these accounts I'm not sure I'd take the same position.

Accompanied by Shellabarger's fine caricatures, the book makes good on the cliche that some reality is stranger than fiction. Definitely satirical simply because of the outrageous nature of some of the material, but also serious. Not quite a graphic novel but not quite a "normal" nonfiction book. The writing is excellent, too. Check out some sample pages here. I think after reading part of it, you'll agree that this is one issue on which we can all come together as a nation, whether Democan or Republicrat: we've had some mighty suspect VPs.

There's even a fairly spectacular Veeps website, which I highly recommend.


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