As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance. -- Calvin and Hobbes

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sitting On The Nightstand

My Weekly Book Review

TITLE:
I am America and so can you
, by Stephen Colbert

The omni-influential Stephen Colbert writes his hypercritical, satirical look at life, the American way from the idealistic vantage point common to WWII Veterans, the Dad on That 70's Show, and my Grandmother. I imagine quoting him as one of today's leaders (perhaps the Vice President) saying, "What today's Americans need is my boot right up their asses!"

His approach to writing is similar to his nightly show, The Colbert Report, as if he's talking right at the audience, and it's not just entertaining, it's hysterical!

He apparently got to thinking one Friday night or so, and went on a weekend rant and wrote this book in entirety. Some may liken writing a book in a weekend to cleaning out your closet; once you get started, you just have to keep going until it's done for some sadistic reason or, in Stephen's case, because it really is a good idea.

Speaking of closets, he regularly pokes at the kind of issues close to us; gay marriage, disrespectful youth, stupid people, politics, the absence of morals in our society and the cross breeding of any of the above categories.

He gives credit that the average reader of his book is intelligent enough to know that he is portraying a character who is old fashioned, patriotic and idealistically conservative. His character's blatantly outspoken, puritanical regard of the sensitive subject matter just may be creating some awareness to how backwards some of these ideas are. (I HOPE!)

There is truth to his humor, though. We are losing something in America, and I like Stephen's format for presenting it. He transcends the extreme in order for his [not-so-subtle] opinions to be heard. He is engaging Americans young and old to listen, and hopefully, they get it. Is it really so bad to be patriotic [and be accepting of other cultures?] Why can't we care a little more about our country and be proud of it [and actually lift a finger to help out?] Can we retain some old fashioned values [and not be racist, anti-gay hate mongers] Can Republicans care about people and the environment [without ulterior motives?]

So, what do we want to preserve of old-fashioned American sensibility anyway? I heard the good old days really weren't that good. I think Stephen is the one to help us understand what values should be retained and which deserve the trash bin. Funnier still, is how he manages to accomplish all this and make us laugh with abandon.

I laughed out loud at this book, but I am a fan of Stephen's show to begin with, because what media-conscious, humor-motivated American doesn't form most of his political opinions based on the rants and interviews of John Stewart and Stephen Colbert?

A note on his show: Imagine how difficult being fresh and interesting on a daily basis must be? It has got to require some superhuman noggin' strength. Moreover, have you considered lately how they have been able be that funny and captivating night after night without writers? Stephen (and John), I salute you! (Of course, being a fan, I know this review would piss off Stephen (if he ever read it) because the mention of John takes attention away from him!

A very entertaining read. I recommend it.

PS. Stephen would warn you to hurry! It may not be too late for the first edition with it's special features!

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