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Patrick J. Colliano
- Publié sur Amazon.com
The most prominent feature of this book is (believe it or not) its near-consummate lack of humor. For those that know Al Franken from his previous projects, including two of his previous bestsellers, "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, And Other Observations" and "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right," this may seem to be hard to believe. But in addition to having a title that's less than ten words long, this book is the most serious, most somber, of all of Franken's projects that I know of. Yes, true to the book's subtitle, there are jokes. But then again, I know of no writer that is completely humorless (and if there were, I don't want to read him), but almost completely gone (save for the occassional barbs thrown in the direction of his usual nemeses: Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Coulter and Hannity) is Franken's trademark satirical and often ribald skewering of conservative pundits.
This is not to say that without Franken's characteristic humor, the book is without merit. Far from it. Only that we're seeing a markedly different Al Franken. Not a deadly serious Al Franken, but still one much more serious than we're used to.
And his targets, this time are not the pundits, but the leaders in the conservative movement, such as the very recently indicted Tom DeLay, his close compatriot Jack Abramoff. And the issues are more serious than which suburb Bill O'Reilly grew up in. This time his bones of contention are with the severely bungled Terri Schiavo case, the war in Iraq, and the smear campaigns conducted against John Kerry.
The book answers, or should I say, reconfirms, what I believed about conservative leadership for quite some time: they care only about the rights of major corporations to make money. That's all. The sum total of the conservative agenda.
And don't get me wrong. I have nothing against corporations making money, as long as their rights to swing their fists stops where my nose begins. Or perhaps I should say, their rights to produce pollutants stops where my right to breathe clean air and drink safe water begins.
Some might say that the conservative leadership nobly champions the rights of the unborn. But if that's true, then why are they overseeing a situation in which female sweatshop employees in Saipan (a U.S. territory) are forced into not only prostitution, but abortions, under the threat of losing their fourteen hour a day jobs? (Chapter 10)
So much for this "culture of life" that would champion the rights of those in persistent vegetative states, such as Terri Schiavo, detailed in Chapter 9. The inconsistencies are resolved, in Franken's mind, only when you realize that the Republican leadership cares only about staying in power so corporations have free reign to screw us all. Everything else is just a payoff to thier supporters, such as the Religious Right.
Yes, the book is very cynical. But Franken does remain optimistic, as noted in his final chapter, where he indulges in a little flight of fancy, in which he sees the Republicans being systematically voted out of office, barely retaining fifty seats. A Democratic president is elected and the lame duck Bush is impeached and convicted, a loophole granted by the fact that Congress (of which, Al Franken is one of them) is sworn in a few weeks before the president's inauguration.