The Fiction of Owen Thomas

The Menagerie

“Satire’s nature is to be one-sided, contemptuous of ambiguity, and so unfairly
selective as to find in the purity of ridicule an inarguable moral truth.”

― E.L. Doctorow

“Satire is the antidote to Pollyanna and Dr. Pangloss. It focuses our gaze sharply
upon the contrast between things as they are and as they should be.”

― Edgar Johnson, A Treasury of Satire

“When majority is insane, sane must go to asylum.”
― Mark Twain

Welcome to The Menagerie

Herein, friends, a refuge from serious writing. Here, satire, irreverence, and parody abound. Also to be found: absurdity, farce, unfairness, poor reasoning, transparent agendas, salacious innuendo, hypocrisy and a weakness for the comedic ad hominem.

Here is not the place where finer thoughts are expressed in finer ways in hopes of publication, edification or more wholesome entertainment. If that is what you seek then you have lost your way and I recommend returning to those more earnest and reputable portions of the Owen Thomas Fiction website, including The Lion Trees, Signs of Passing: Letters from Winchester County, Henry & Biggs: Adventure Blog of a Literary Agent and His Beagle, Novels, Novellas, Short Stories, Tiny Points of Life, or my photoblog, 1000 Words per Frame.   

Here, in the padded walls of The Menagerie, is where we suggest, even indelicately at times, that the Emperor has no clothes, and without much concern for whether he might catch cold.

To actually give offense is never the purpose. Never.

But offense is always a risk, for there are so many sacred cows in the world. We collect them and keep them as personal pets, taking them for walks around the neighborhood and chaining them to trees in our front yards to guard our homes. Every celebrity is somebody’s idol. Every politician, someone’s heroic guardian. Every rotten book, someone’s favorite bedtime story. But here, as Paul Krassner said, “Irreverence is our only sacred cow” and levity is the only aim.

Here you will find four main features: (1) Henry’s Interview Corner, in which a Beagle has a frisky go at the movers and shakers of the day; (2) Dear Miss Tinkles, an advice column by a West Highland Terrier on all manner of human problems and foibles; (3) Agatha Glume’s Haiku Scratching Post, in which a Persian cat with more than enough disdain for everything and everyone offers her most candid thoughts seventeen syllables at a time; and (4) Famous First Lines, in which the author helps aspiring novelists find that great opening line by offering variations on the successful first lines throughout literature, from Moby Dick to Fifty Shades of Grey.

Lastly, allow me to apologize* to the animal characters from my on-line novel Henry & Biggs – Henry, Tinkles and Agatha – who have been conscripted to host these various features in exaggerations of their normal literary personae; exaggerations that are not always flattering or in keeping with their dignity. They would have me assure you that, for these purposes, they are only acting.

So proceed, dear reader, with a lightened heart. For this is all in fun. There is a place for your thoughts following every post so feel free to chime in. Defend the Emperor’s sartorial taste if you must, or worry about his health.

Duly advised, your links are thus:

Henry’s Interview Corner
Dear Miss Tinkles
Agatha Glume’s Haiku Scratching Post
Famous First Lines
OTF Social Media Polling


Henry’s Interview Corner

— John Boehner

— Oprah Winfrey

— Higgs-Boson

— Twitter

— President Barack Obama

— Siri

— Dick Cheney and Justin Bieber

— Arnold Schwarzenegger

— Lance Armstrong

— Nick Longrich

— Al Jazeera

— Anthony’s Weiner

— The Fox

— Vladimir Putin

— David Slater

Dear Miss Tinkles

— Fed-Up Commuter

— Proud Chicago Mom

— Trapped Upstairs in My Own Home

— Kassidy’s Mom

— Friend of Barney

— Just a Kid

— Miffed

— Old Fashioned Gal

— Smitten as a Kitten

— Stumped in Topeka

— Yours In Letters

Agatha Glume's Haiku Scratching Post

— On Poetic Felinity

— On The Donald’s Head

— On Congress

— On Digital Armageddon

— On Reality Television

— On Torture

— On Zen Master’s Koan of Silence

— On What to Expectorate When You’re Expecting

— On What to Expect When You’re Expectorating

— On the Ticket

— On Hurricane Skeptics

— On Midnight Madness Sales

— On It Making You Go Blind

— On NBC

Famous First Lines

— MOBY DICK, by Herman Melville

— 1984, by George Orwell

— PAUL CLIFFORD, by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton


— CITY OF GLASS, by Paul Auster


— THE GREAT GATSBY, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

— MIDDLE PASSAGE, by Charles Johnson


— THE INFERNO, by Dante Alighieri

— ALL IN: THE EDUCATION OF GENERAL DAVID H. PETRAEUS, by Paula Broadwell and Vernon Loeb


— MANSFIELD PARK, by Jane Austin


OTF Social Media Polling

— OTF Social Media Polling

* "Apologize: To lay the foundation for a future offense."
     ― Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Author's Certification:

All of the written work featured on this site is homemade using no more than twenty-six different letters, each of which has lived a happy, hand-fed, free-range life without genetic modification, hormones, pesticides or violent video games.

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