Andrew Roberto fails to amuse!

By Mabel Doge Luhan

This is TOO MUCH. The Marianas Variety has gone TOO FAR.

Considering what’s been happening lately in the world of falconry (oh, you know exactly what I’m talking about), today I needed a good laugh.

After a few puffs of my breakfast opium, I opened my favorite satirical newspaper, the Marianas Variety (sometimes known as The Kangkung). I twirled my opium pipe, eager to read the article it landed on: “CNMI Farmers May Receive $600 Under USDA Program” by Andrew Roberto.

The Variety has built a brand, and I trust it to deliver on that brand. I was expecting the article to start with a random non sequitur, a clumsy attempt at an American colloquialism,  a tabloidish bit of sensationalist lead-in (“Earth will not be annihilated tomorrow, but…”), some unsubstantiated praise for some government official, reprints of hateful MAGA drivel, belittling of victims of sexual abuse, or at least, AT THE VERY LEAST, Bryan Manabat again calling our most vulnerable children “dropouts.”  I’ve come to expect that much from the Variety.

Instead, I got a summary of who, what, where, when, and even why. In grammatically correct English. With plurals, tenses, and everything. Where had those been hiding all these years and who does Andrew Roberto think he is, deflating my planned morning laughter?

Reading on, puffing the opium pipe a little nervously, I got a classic “pyramid” story, expanding with more and more detail in each paragraph.

What has the Marianas Variety become?

There was actual contact information and practical information useful to the readership, instead of just whatever random facts might fill the word count. No nonworking links or phone numbers missing digits. And no mention of “availing.”

What the actual living hell now? Who taught this Andrew Roberto how to write a real article that I can’t forward for giggles?

Roberto, you have failed to amuse me. My footman will throw you to the bears.


Mabel Doge Luhan is a rootless cosmopolitan and a woman of loose morals. She resides in Kagman V, where she pursues her passions of crocheting, beatboxing, and falconry.


  • Couple things. Mable’s columns are certainly interesting, especially if you enjoy egoic, flamboyant, rhetoric. I used to think they were fun, but they now strike me as self-centered show-pieces, designed to enthrall readers with how witty and clever she is. Opium, my foot.

    She does have a point about the Marianas Variety. I wrote articles – primarily about health and nutrition – for years as a volunteer. Then I was fired. The reason Laila Younis-Boyer gave was that she wanted to give other writers a chance. (That isn’t the Real reason, wink wink).

    The Variety then enlisted a man named Ed Vergara to write a column named “earthrise.” It was the most incomprehensible writing I ever struggled to read. I’m uncertain how long “earthrise” lasted. Three months?

    In the wonderful movie, “David and Lisa” (on YouTube), David says to Lisa, “Talk to me plain straight.”

    Amen to that.

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