It's almost time for the 2022 ToB!

It's almost time for the 2022 Tournament of Books, presented by Field Notes. Check out the short list today!

Spoofs & Satire

Photograph by Danny Hammontree

The Edge of Sustainable Living

U2’s guitarist has recently been slammed by environmentalists for his California real-estate development. An FAQ for concerned neighbors.

First off, the Edge would like to wish a genuine top-of-the-morning to all his new neighbors. Really, from the bottom of the Edge’s heart, it would be a travesty if you and he didn’t become the most amicable of remote acquaintances.

On behalf of the Edge, and as his full-time personal assistant, I will be on hand to answer any questions you have about his new development property here in these scenic Malibu hills. I know there’s been a lot of speculation about the scope of this project, but once you hear the facts I’m sure you’ll find there’s nothing to worry about.

For your convenience, here are sanctioned responses from the Edge to questions we’ve so far received.

Will the mansions obscure my view of the ocean?

Rest assured that these will be some of the most environmentally sensitive homes ever built for the extremely wealthy. The Edge and his full-time personal architect are doing everything they can to respect and honor the landscape—whether that means designing solar-powered doors for the 10-car garage, supplying the morning landscaping crew with ethanol-fueled leaf-blowers, or fashioning the interior decorative moldings from the ivory tusks of only non-endangered (or at least elderly) elephants and walruses.

Sustainability is key, that’s our motto. Hence the chanting.

But does the swimming pool have to be quite so massive?

The Edge has previously stated that the swimming pool’s installation is a matter of safety concern. These grassy hills, as you know, are prone to fires, and fires are anathema to sustainability, unless they’re cleansing fires. In any case, a modest rerouting of the greater Santa Monica water supply is a small price to pay to keep all our families safe. Regarding the waterfalls, water-slides, and log flume—better to be safe than sorry, is the feeling of the Edge.

Isn’t it true he’s also building a domed tennis court?

Since the very beginning, this project has been about building something in perfect harmony with these hills. The Edge desires this development to be a benchmark for sustainability, and wouldn’t ever consider doing anything that might renege on his personal commitment. Besides, they’re not just tennis courts—it’s an all-purpose Inspiration Center complete with full-length basketball court, bleachers, skyboxes, and a 14-acre parking lot, which will be home to the Edge’s new N.B.A. team, the Malibu Wailers. And in the interests of preserving Malibu’s beautiful shoreline, the giant guitar perched on top of the dome will only be illuminated during home games.

We’ve heard screaming in the night.

Those were more likely calls of jubilation from our cheerful band of laborers—a very fun bunch to whom the Edge would love to introduce you, if he hasn’t already. As employees of the Edge, they receive full health-care benefits and know nothing of the fear and worry and cancerous dread with which the lives of most modern men are filled. In fact, every night they celebrate having shed the brittle husks of their old lives—gathering of their own accord in the cellar apartments of the main battlemented tower, where they cheer in the darkness sometimes for hours.

Many of us have had the American flags in front of our houses stolen and replaced with much larger flags that we do not recognize.

The Edge has found such reports surprising and strange. Though the emblem on this exotic new flag resonates with the Edge as a forward-thinking person who believes in the strength of the sustainable individual, I assure you the Edge has never seen it before, nor has he ever heard of a country called “Incrediplace”—though by the sound of it, the Edge likely wouldn’t mind living there, especially if it turned out to be ruled by a leader as strong and generous as the prophecy foretells.

I thought I heard you just allude to a prophecy?

For those who are unfamiliar with the ancient prophecy that was uncovered beneath the site of the Edge’s new development—i.e., Incrediplace—pamphlets will be distributed to your mailboxes in the coming weeks, and posted on the clubhouse’s community board. Highlights include the total realization of self, a violent upheaval of old-world values, and a new slave race of jubilant workers who will resemble yourselves, and perhaps others.

What have you done with our wives?

This has been covered previously, and the Edge will not repeat himself. Please return to your cellar.

Hey, aren’t those daffodils over there non-native to this region? Shouldn’t they be lilies?

Sub-citizens, please. Do you really think the Edge would be so selfish?


TMN editor Matt Ray Robison is a fellow at the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program. He lives in Ann Arbor. More by Matt Ray Robison