Since the election, the daily activities of President Trump and company have shot a lot of people’s anxiety levels into space, where they swirl in suspended motion, shakily awaiting each day’s new headlines. From shows like Saturday Night Live and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert to entertainment at the local level, comedians, humorists, and satirists have been busy trying to take Trump to task while providing audiences with a bit of levity.
Here in Phoenix, Rebecca Smith Masterson and Meghan Martinez are hoping they too can provide a little relief with their new book, Bad Fibs: An Activity Book for the Resistance (The First 100 Days).
The title is a play on Mad Libs, the long-running word game where a person is asked to provide words that will fill in the blanks of a story, without having read the story, thereby causing hilarious results. The book contains Mad Lib activities, along with plenty of other things to-do that outline some of the presidential buffoonery that inspired them to do this project. We talked to Rebecca Smith Masterson about Bad Fibs and how she and her co-author hope it can help.
A copy of Bad Fibs is $14.95, or you can buy two for $19.95. It's currently available online at the Bad Fibs website. Masterson says they're in the process of planning the book's future, and it may eventually be available at retail locations.
New Times: So, you’re clearly a big Trump supporter?
Rebecca Smith Masterson: Big fan, like everything about him, since there’s so much to like. Uh, no! It’d be great for entertainment, you know, if it wasn’t our country at stake.
Using the humor in a positive way was the impetus for you and Meghan.
Meghan and I got to the point where we can’t read the news anymore but we can’t not read the news anymore. I went into a depression. Did that happen to you?
You look at the news and you have no idea what it’s going to be that day.
Every. Single. Day. And numerous things each day. It's mind-bending.
So many things that you don’t even know what to focus on. Russia, health insurance, so much.
How did Bad Fibs come to exist? Have you written other books?
I haven’t done any books. I write a little bit, though. Meghan and I used to do a T-shirt line together. We were in the same boat regarding the election and were constantly texting back and forth and it was like okay, enough. There's a Bernie Sanders quote where he says, “Despair is not an option,” that rang true for both of us. We knew we had to do something. We had to do what we do best – create something humorous to keep spirits up or else we would stop fighting. We didn’t want to end up rolled up in our comforters like burritos, never leaving the house. It’s important to find the humor, while still resisting and fighting, because it’s all just so dark. We were brainstorming and then it came up what if we did a Mad Libs-style book about Trump and then it went from there.
What a great idea. Tell us more about what’s inside.
It looks just like an old-school Mad Libs book. There’s Mad Libs, there’s a headline generator – it’s literally an activity book. There’s Melania Russian dolls to color, you can design your own protest signs. I literally took one of my kid’s activities books and used that as a guide. There’s are different word finds, including a conflict-of-interest word find, and one where you search for Trump nicknames. The Mad Libs are my favorite.
He’s given humorists a lot of material, that’s for sure.
It’s all based on the first hundred days. There’s been so much going on that since this got printed, that now there’s a whole other cluster of events and situations happening. This one captures a lot of what occurred during his first 100 days in office.
In so many ways it’s still unbelievable that this person is the president.
He literally said he had the biggest inauguration ever, he said that.
Things drop from his mouth like boulders.
Right? And if you weren’t living this you wouldn’t believe it. No one in their right mind could believe it. Key being, people in their right minds!
Are you going to do another edition?
I hope so and I hope not. It was fun to do but a solution to the problem would be better than another activity book.
Where can we get this to-do book?
We are selling them online right now and then just started thinking about wholesale. We’ve been doing some social media marketing, as well as some postcards with the Mad Libs. Again, the focus is funny but we really just want people to feel better so they can keep on fighting. My dream is for Senator Flake to open his mailbox and have 5,000 of the postcards fall out on one day.
Are you asking people to mail them?
Yeah. They’re funny, but we want them to also get used. We have encouraged that on our Facebook page.
This is a charitable endeavor, too, right?
Yes. The money from the books is – a portion – will go to the ACLU and some to Emerge America, which is a training program for women to run for office. The ACLU is awesome and more known, so we wanted to highlight Emerge America. And we know there are of course good men who are in office, we’re not trying to say otherwise, but there are no women who act like this! Especially after Hillary not winning, we felt strongly about supporting an organization that helps women get more involved in government.
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As a parent, how has the election affected you?
My son is adopted, from China. He is a high-functioning autistic child who thought he was going to be deported. Just from the election coverage. I kept telling him not to worry, that Trump would never win, and then he did! And it was like, “Now what do I tell my kid?!” I was so sure he couldn’t win that telling my son not to worry seemed like the easiest and most realistic thing to say to offer him some comfort.
Parents, caregivers, and educators have shared so many harrowing stories about the fear that Trump has incited in our country’s children.
Kids were and are terrified. There aren’t even words for how terrible this is for kids. Look how frightening it is for adults. We’re strong people. We can’t sit back. We had to find a way to laugh – had to.
The laughter, it’s mental health. It’s self-preservation.
You just nailed it – it is mental health. There’s nothing funny about what we’re watching - it’s our own mental health at stake. We have to tend to it, to find ways to stay positive, or else we wouldn’t get anything done. And we have so much to do!