Meyer: I love that Voltaire was so willing to shock his readers with arbitrary cruelty. And I can completely relate to it. Even if you haven't had one of your buttocks cut off or been raped by pirates, we can all appreciate the horrors that take place in Candide. At the same time, he strikes a nice balance between futility and optimism. By nature, I tend to fall more on the saturnine side. But if you're going to be truly funny, I think you have to be a little Pangloss and a little Martin. You have to be able to shuttle back and forth.