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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Interview with Jonathan Lynn, Author of Samaritans

Today I’m pleased to bring you a few minutes with Jonathan Lynn, the man behind such legendary screen hits as My Cousin Vinny and Clue – and introduce you to his newest, Samaritans, a satire on the pathetic state of the American health care system…

You have been accused of using humor in the Quixotic hope of making the world a slightly better place. Would you say this is true?
I suppose it has been the purpose behind much of my work. My Cousin Vinny made a statement against capital punishment. The Distinguished Gentleman was about the corruption of Congress by the lobbyists which, of course, is appreciably worse now. Nuns on The Run, though very gentle, was about hypocrisy, as was Greedy although it was mainly about greed which seems to be back in style. Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister covered the whole gamut of all the sins in political and public life but, above all, it was about hypocrisy – the difference between the public face and the private face of those in office, and the fact that so many politicians are squalid vote-grubbers who will do anything for short term electoral advantage.

What inspired you to write Samaritans?
Healthcare in this country cries out for someone to tell the truth in an easily readable and humorous way. Congress is trying to find a way to deprive 23 million people, and people with pre-existing conditions, and the poor and the elderly of what in every other developed country is not a privilege but a human right. Congress, on the other hand, will make sure that its members have the best possible healthcare, and so will the wealthy who fund their elections and keep the politicians in office. It’s just tough on ordinary people, but you’re not entitled to anything in America unless you can afford it, not even your life. The majority of Congressmen say they are pro-life but what they actually mean is that they are pro-birth. The very word ‘entitlement’ has been turned into a derogatory term.

Who are your main influences?
I am inspired by Swift, Shaw, Orwell, Joseph Heller and Kingsley Amis. When I think about satire here, I immediately think of Catch 22, and Will Rogers and H.L.Mencken. On film, Network, Being There, Broadcast News, Wag the Dog and there are others. My novel Mayday is satirical about LA. My book Comedy Rules explains in detail what I do and how I go about it.

I understand there are other writers in your family?
Yes, in fact there was a week when my uncle Abba Eban, my cousin Oliver Sacks, and I all had a book on the best-sellers list. And we were all really part-time writers – one a diplomat, one a neurologist and I was a film director.

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