Garrett (garote) wrote,

A book review I posted on Amazon

"Left" and "right", along with "republican" and "conservative", when you get right down to it, are actually words that mark the END of sensible discussion. They infest media and minds -- and like rabies -- they make them degenerate and turn and insane. These labels are not used to describe a coherent philosophy or even an agenda, they're used to take potshots at people for a laugh, or to blow off steam, or to fight over power.

So here we have Bernard Goldberg, peddling another book with "left" and "right" on the cover. Some people listen to Bill Maher to get their yuks, some people will turn to Bernard. There's no difference in the quality of their politics (poor) - just a slight difference in labeling. Bill Maher admits UP FRONT that he is a COMEDIAN. Bernard Goldberg's book full of amusing rants is, according to the final section, nothing less than a recipe to fix the world. From here, to the middle east.

According to Goldberg, the real threat to our world view comes from Rosie O'Donnell, a "liberal loudmouth" who is "ruling over a land of morons" on the left. Picture in your mind a horde of drooling zombies marching down a street in San Francisco behind her, holding lattes and wearing Che Guevara t-shirts. That's what Bernard sees in his head. That's what he points his finger at. It's a funny image - because it's ridiculous.

There is no horde, and we know it. Just like there's no horde of mindless Christian zombies marching around in Texas, and no army of braindead Mormons shambling down the streets of Salt Lake City. There is no war - ideological or otherwise - between you, me, or them. They're just stereotypes to throw easy jokes at. America is not only more diverse than these labels can describe, it is more diverse than most of us CAN EVEN IMAGINE. That is a truly great fact. And it is buried in the sludge of cheap-shots, nametags, and inane put-downs that litter this book - and the many others like it.

I've met Cuban expatriates living in Florida trailer parks, and weather-beaten Inuit hunters working oil drills in Alaska. I've shaken hands with stoic latinos who fought their way into this country to pick artichokes in a field, so their sons and daughters could grow up here instead of facing murder and poverty in the horribly corrupt Mexican state. And I've had dinner in Manhattan with blue-blooded descendants of the European middle class, who came to America after the finger-pointing and the bigotry back home erupted into violence and death. Even with this diversity, we are a nation that endures, ... but only because we all work to do something that few other cultures even think about: We INTEGRATE.

"Left", "right", "liberal", "conservative?" To me, Bernard Goldberg is just another cynical shut-in with a typewriter and bills to pay. He's not here to introduce you to smart people or good ideas you may not know. He's here to set up pasteboard targets and knock them over with a baseball bat. And he watches way too much TV. I didn't even know Rosie O'Donnel was still around. Didn't she stop making movies last century?

A political discussion about issues is always an excellent idea. But we all know: This book will not go there. It may make us laugh, but we know, somewhere inside ourselves, that Bernard Goldberg is just another comedian on stage, saying things to make us laugh, or make us feel superior to phantoms. If we forget that, ... the joke is on us.

If you like "political" comedy, then I suppose this book will give you a few yuks, or in the early chapters it may remind you of some of the silly ideas you had as a kid. But on the other hand, Bill Maher's show is FREE as a podcast on iTunes. So you may just want to save your twenty bucks, or use it as gas money instead.
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