You’re Not The Only One Who’s Anatomically Correct ‘Round These Parts – Tales of Phallocentrism
This is an irreverent fable of sorts about a group of stuffed animals that live in the land of Bed. The protagonist of the story is Travis T. Bear, a rough, opinionated, hard-drinking teddy bear who, after some bad choices involving fallen women and penis envy, discovers what is important in life.
Though Bed may look like, well, a kid’s bed, it is a world whose society resembles the human world, with stuffed animals that resemble stereotypes (albeit very unflattering) of people. Protagonist Travis T. Bear is an outspoken bear that engages in lively rants about the politics and politicians of Bed. While Travis is “cantankerous,” he has time to be a pal (versus “an enabling therapist”) and advises his friend, Percy Herbert Wimpledon the Third (AKA Wimpy), to “get [yourself] a job, rather than just sit around and suck the system’s tit dry.” Like some citizens of Bed, who can only fix their stressors, like unemployment, social recession, food allergies, and social media envy, with mood stabilizers, Travis has issues. Penis envy is one. So much so that he, through a crazy stint on “the queen of daytime TV” – Winny Elephant’s show, receives a penis transplant/enlargement. This leads to all sorts of other issues, but also to a revelation about what and who is important to him.
This politically incorrect, in-your-face narrative offers some moments of entertainment (besides shock value), with the irony of a foul-mouthed, womanizing, teddy bear, and his take on the world today. The obvious references he makes to various socio-political situations parallel real life characters and situations: the Go-Between’ers Party, the Grouper’s Party Liberals with their “lazy and free” (laissez faire) attitude, business mogul, Darren Hump, and the “flipped-his-lid despot” – Ping Pong Un – who is threatening to blow Bed up once again.
The plot, if any, is extremely weak, and barely camouflaging the diatribe on political shams, the breakdown of social mores, and personal integrity. The in-your-face commentary, foul language and the amusing Monty Python-esque humor can be overwhelmingly unbalanced due to this lack of plot and character development.
Illustrations are bold, and like the story, are definitely not suitable for children. Strong bold lines and thatching add a roughness to the sometimes explicit (as graphic as teddy bears in human sexual positions can be) images.
Monty Python meets Babes in Toyland in this often provocative, and sometimes funny, take on today’s socio-political state.
James L. Manchester
Bookshelf of the Absurd