Uncyclopedia:Pee Review/User:Hiatus Hernia/Saki

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edit User:Hiatus Hernia/Saki

Well, after around 5 completely different revisions I guess I'm happiest with this one. I'd prefer someone who has never heard of Saki, but if you have/are a fan, that's great too. What I'm worried about is that this might be too subtle or unfunny. If somebody knows what to do about the templates, that would be good too. ~Scriptsiggy.JPGTelephonesig Star Starsig Kidneysig 10:03, Apr 6, 2010


Nachlader will review this article.

So leave him alone. Honestly. You want to argue with a face like that?
Per user request. I'll have it done in 24 hours at least. --nldr 12:32, April 6, 2010 (UTC)
I lost my original review due to a crash, but I remember some of it. I apologise if the secondary version isn't helpful enough. --nldr 15:41, April 7, 2010 (UTC)
Humour: 5 I reappraised my mind of Saki's life and read one or two of his short stories, just to qualify this review that tiny bit more.

Let's get down to it. The article starts out seriously, which is the medium it carries throughout, a relatively sensible tactic I find, and gets down to the humour within the first proper sentence of the introductory paragraphs. "He was a most famous as a short story writer and an epigrammatist, and reminded people of Oscar Wilde." Ah, a Wilde reference.

"“the only thing worse than having too many epigrams is not having enough epigrams”,". Another one. That's what immediately hits me regarding the humour in this article - it appears reliant on other gay, British writers. I'll hit upon this flaw later on in the review, but just remember that for every instance either Wilde of Coward are mentioned, I did not find it funny.

The Early life and Colonial service hit upon good humour regarding the fascist imperialism of the time. The next section in London has this titbit: "He wrote witty editorial columns, which became very well-received in England due to their ability to not offend anyone’s decency". What decency? Yes, I know, decency, but which decency? The apparent decency of quaint British culture is evident, but when you mention decency, bring up an example of it. Imagine an earl who reads a column that has the word knickers in it, and the earl totally blows his top and shoots fifty foxes in the resulting tirade and spills his tea in the process. Talk about it more in the article, people lap it up.

You could also mention the 1910s women's suffrage movement somehow, saying that Saki didn't care much for it, resulting biographers immediately leaping to the conclusion that he was gay.

As a foreign correspondent remains loyal to the serious tone and proceeds with information about Saki's life. Remember that he witnessed bloody sunday, but I'm unsure how to link that. Towards the Great War does make mention once more of his stories (and his frequent protagonist, Clovis Sangrail), but bear in mind that any mention of WWI lightens the mind with excitement. With World War I it did for me anyway - I suggest you get down to the topic of his role in WWI very quickly and lengthily in this section. You could use Homosexuality in the British military as a leaning point. There isn't much information offered about his role in the war, save for his denial of a concession, his death and his last words. I'd suggest you spin a wild tale concerning his army career and his homosexuality in the same section, I'm sure it's achievable.

The Themes in Sakian literature section also misses some potential and has also has a lot of wording worthy of being cropped. "Saki liked animals, and would often contrast the hypocrisies of Edwardian high society with the straightforwardness of nature." is a good opportunity: pretend you're a very harsh critic - pretend that he's totally absurd about his beliefs concerning modern life and nature, compare them entirely. Talk to me if you want a better idea of that tactic. Remember not to get too deep with his themes, again, not everyone will be willing to do as much research as I have done on Saki in the past few hours.

And finally Legacy. Again, it's full of Wildean and Coward references. "The repression that fueled his comedy became the hallmark of British humour for years to come." in fact that hallmark is something I associate with others, but if it was intended as a joke then it obviously went above me - the article is far too serious to intend it that way.

However: "Many scholars express regret that the great humourist did not choose to end his life with an epigram, which was usually the convention, for instance Oscar Wilde ended his life while showcasing his taste for interior design, with “These curtains are killing me, one of us has got to go.” Nevertheless, Saki’s last words, the aforementioned “Put that bloody cigarette out!”, was as witty as it could be under the circumstances." is a good way of referring to Wilde. It's a passing reference and contains a comparison that doesn't involve literature, poetry or plays.

It's certainly a harsh outlook, but you did ask me of all people to do his first PEE review in well over a year. I'm abstaining from VFH frequently (or not even voting at all), I've raised my own standards somehow. I am very warming to the idea of this subject being the next hi-brow humour article though.

Concept: 7 The idea of the article feels original, the execution just isn't. However, back to the former point: the idea of an article about Saki feels fresh because contemporaries from the same circle of life already have their articles on this site, Saki offers a new opportunity.

However, I believe it's the constant references to Wilde and Coward that distracts me slightly. It's like trying to review a GTA-clone videogame by simply saying "Well, just like in GTA you can run around freely and like in GTA you can take cars and everything", it's somewhat insulting to the apparent fresh space this character can give the author.

Not that I think everyone will instantly warm up to the familiar face of Saki, it's just that confirming that he was a homosexual writer from Britain in the same sentence as fleeting mentions of Wilde tends to bring out the worst of impressions - an over-impression perhaps. You see, when someone mentions a gay writer from the British isles, it is Oscar Wilde or Noel Coward that I think of instantly, no help needed. Of course cropping out these parts of the article means taking a chunk of the material from the article away, but believe me, granting the article some independence will enable exclusive humour to arise.

For example, lets look at some of his short stories. They are deemed well enough by Wikipedia to have it's own section of the article, each with it's own summary of the proceedings. My feeling that a similar tool of humour used prominently throughout Aesop's Fables could be replicated here.

For example, here is my take on Munroe's The Unrest-Cure:

Clovis Sangrail was a mischievous, but clever young scallywag. The slow weekend produced at Uneventfulborough whilst visiting elderly relatives had failed to dampen his high, his mind was alert to any port of call to his foolhardy expertise, even in the train carriage which he sat. It was the mutterings of a middle-aged man on the other far side of the carriage that caught his ear, as he bowed slightly to capture the conversation.
"I just don't understand it. This train is always late, but only by one single minute. Yet it unfolds my comfort so."
He was speaking to an unseen, apparently unimportant individual sat in the same compartment. The accomplice of which said something that escaped the range of Clovis' ears, something along the lines of the British Rail being far better by the end of the millennia or some such. The 1910s had no place for such haberdashery, Clovis thought. The middle aged man from before resumed speaking.
"I am sure that the rail service will be sharp whatever the time period. The problem is that even in my mid-40s I am succinct to routine and pre-prepared planning. I am lined with the exact discipline that grants the armed forces the organisation and trimness they require under desperate times" Clovis noticed that the bag on the rack above the middle aged man had a wording that ran: J.P. Huddle.
The accomplice let loose a laugh similar to any 1910s gent of the time would have laughed. When the middle aged man, J.P. Huddle presumably, questioned his friend's jovial outburst, the laughter soon seeped from the compartment and the man spoke softly once more. Huddle questioned more and the friend declared that he was amused because he was going to suggest Huddle take an unrest-cure.
"Do talk straight, man. An unrest-cure?"
"Uh, yes" responded the friend, as if a private who turned up on parade with unpolished boots, "an unrest-cure. Do something utterly out of line. Join the local knitting club, wear nothing on at all, support women's suffrage, vote for the liberal party. I could go on with these extremities."
An unrest-cure. Huddle must've been shocked or astounded by the idea because the conversation evaporated from the compartment. Clovis turned from his endeavouring of the eavesdrop for the safety of his neck tendons, and noted the addressed marked on the same bag high up on the rack: J. P. Huddle, The Warren, Tilfield, Uneventfulbrough.
- - -
A few days passed since the outrageous suggestion on the train, a few enough days passed for J.P. Huddle to take in the ridiculous statement uttered by his accomplice. He lay unspent on the veranda of his illustrious garden, newspaper in hand, un-quivering in the eternal peace his lawn granted him. His daughter lounged in similar fashion on some other corner, leafing through her latest issue of Gossip - That 1910s Glamour and tittered at the story of Kaiser Wilhelm II's new outburst on England and Englanders: "mad, mad as march hares", the propensity and emptiness of his endless threats never ceased to amuse.
A butler rode out from the house to deliver Huddle a telegram. Huddle unfurled the telegram unsuspecting of the message concealed. He read it with some considerable befuddlement. It was a message from the local Bishop Consiglieri, who was on his way to Huddle's house to tell him of important news, and the bishop had sent his secretary ahead of him. Unusual indeed.
As he finished reading this, a figure appeared from the other side of the veranda, as if from thin air. It was Clovis, stepping forward to speak with Huddle. Clovis' eyes sweeped the garden, as if wary of the apparent threat of artillery fire.
"You are the bishop's secretary, yes?" spoke Huddle.
Clovis nodded. "Yes. Bishop Consiglieri sends his regrets that he won't be able to come here after all, but no matter. I will fill you in on the serious situation that has only just arisen."
Huddle grew more perplexed. "Well, what is it, man?"
He took a deep breath before answering, "The army has declared that every anti-Semite in the area of Uneventfulbrough are to be executed. Although to be fair, the holocaust has yet to occur."
"You what? Anti-semites? But that's every man-jack in the community... Not myself of course, but even my butler is an anti semite!"
The daughter had initially paid discourse to her Gossip issue, but soon returned to the pages of social respite and her Agony Aunt column.
The intruder explained further, "The bishop Consiglieri is a reasonable man and knows well that you will understand this action. There will be photographers to take pictures for international papers too, from the New York Times to Die Welt. They'll only take pictures of you and your living room, most of the killings will take place in the living room. Oh, I must say, what a lovely veranda this is!"
By now, Huddle was white with extreme fear. How could this be happening, he thought. He stuttered and stuttered but nothing coherent emerged.
"Is that the time?" said Clovis. "I'm afraid I must be off, Mr. Huddle. Don't forget to invite the soldiers in for tea, and also tell them to aim for the heart. An anti-Semite has nothing lethal in his head."
Before Huddle could draw up any protest he broke down on the veranda as Clovis drained from his sight. As Clovis boarded his train a few minutes later, Huddle was still on the floor, trying to rack his brains over how his strict lifestyle afforded such a catastrophe to take place on his doorstep.
It was not until the next morning that Huddle found the streets of Uneventfulbrough to be relatively free of blood and death.

Okay, maybe not as long as that, but maybe it could give you some idea what to replace the brunt of the Wilde references with. For me, the humour conveyed in the above story is the usage of writing style and references to more modern lifestyles. If you fashion a <ref> tags link to the short stories that you cover, you can counter any "but i don't understand the jooooke" excuse from anyone.

Saki's stories cover the extremity of modern life attempting to replace nature. I notice you make light of this in some parts of the article, but the serious tone is taken... a bit too seriously. For example:

"Many scholars contend that his anti-Semitic, anti-socialist and misogynistic attitude was an outlet for his repressed homosexuality. Many others also contend that he was merely satirising the prevailing views of anti-Semitism, anti-socialism and misogyny in Edwardian times. Saki was such that you can never be sure where satire ends and personal belief begins. One thing is for certain, and that is that Saki believed in the Great War."

Just seems to me as too serious. Hi-brow certainly, but it's too much truth and not enough humour. I can see the point in writing an article that is 100% based on real facts, so long as it can be worded humorously, but this article reads like it's trying to be 110% based on real facts. If a paragraph is written seriously, then the ending is very, very ripe for a punchline, one of the tactics I use in articles. Let's look at that paragraph above again:

"Several scholars have suggested over time since his death that his anti-Semitic, anti-socialist and misogynistic attitude was an outlet for his repressed homosexuality. The truth is that he was merely satirising the prevailing views of the pre-war Edwardian period. His essays and endless theses on why Jewish bankers secretly rule the world was all a big joke. Seriously. "

Not exactly great either, but at least it doesn't look like it's trying to bore the reader. I can see how this topic is hard to write about, that's why I'm relying on the short story material up above for funnies suggestions in this review.

Prose and formatting: 7 Not problematic as far as I can tell, the length is also good and each section boasts a sufficient word count. You've forced upon yourself some strict requirements of the article, a very welcome hint that you are trying your hardest on this site, which to be fair, does need the author's full attention to reach the level humour an article deserves.

Bear in mind that this is still a fairly long article for a person whose nature needs identifying for the reader. If you crop some of the most serious parts of the article and leave mostly jokes on the essential bits of knowledge, I think that would serve the article well.

Images: 6 Considering the subject has limited image appeal, this is easily forgiveable. Maybe some images could change places (for example, the lead image should be the same image as the one that leads the Wikipedia article, where Saki is facing the reader).

Of course I can also understand why all the images rely on captions for licensing of their Uncyc presence. Saki liked to compare Edwardian standards to that of wildlife. You could try asking someone RadicalX's Corner (you'll get a response at least within a few days) for an image that crosses monkeys in posh attire in sepia filter - something like that anyway. Trying taking some statements related to the subject literally and picture it, then asking someone else to do it.

Also, watch how closely your captions mimic the body of text along side it. "Really sad pieces about wildlife on the battlefield", is the one culprit.

Miscellaneous: 5 Averaging or something.
Final Score: 30 It's not eternally poor, and neither is your excellent understanding of Uncyc humour, it just needs to clear away a few weeds and it's already well on the way. VFH? Possibly, if you engineer this article to reach the hi-brow standards, of which have prospered on VFH recently, some users may even be positive towards Saki. I know I am, I'm going to look for an anthology of his or something to put in my bookcase.

Of course, you always able to contact me on my userpage. I extend any help I have already offered.

Reviewer: --nldr 15:41, April 7, 2010 (UTC)
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