Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lies And The Lying Liars That Tell Them

Well today (actually several days after the time stamp - LOL) I am writing another review. This time though it is not about a movie but about a book. A book from several years back actually.

I'm sure some of you can already guess who the author of this book is by my highly original posting title. Normally I like finding creative posting titles (if I do say so myself) that I come up with but with this book by Al Franken (of course), I decided that finding a funnier or in any way better title was hopeless. You can't beat the best. So lying liars it is.

This book came out in 2003. I believe I may have read part of it before but if I did I don't think I finished it. If that is the case, it has nothing to do with the quality of the book which is both very funny and also informative in some areas. It would have had more to do with just not being into it at the time. I am not sure if it was Lying Liars I started or his other big title from several years ago as well (before this book in fact) called "Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot". LOL.

Franken has actually written several popular books over the years and I think most if not all of them have made the New York Times Bestseller List. Some of his other titles are I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!, Why Not Me? The Inside Story Of The Making And Unmaking Of The Franken Presidency, and finally Oh, The Things I Know! A Guide To Success, Or, Failing That, Happiness.

I found this book a couple of months ago at a second hand store and took the opportunity to own a copy of one of Franken's books. I'm glad I did. I read the book in one sitting! I'm sure some of that had to do with my state of mind when reading it, as well as the intrinsic worth of the book but the book itself really was a good one that is well worth owning.

I won't go into a long review of the contents but do want to give you some highlights to show that it is truly well worth reading yourselves. Actually, until I reread the table of contents, I was going to say that other than one not so funny but very informative piece on pig farming there was only one section I could specifically remember as standing out enough to comment on. But in looking at the contents I can say that is not true. That said, most of the humor "just finds you" within the chapters and I wouldn't recognize it from a chapter heading.

So first off, lets start with the informative stuff. That would be the chapter on George Bush Jr's environmental policies and pig farming. In it, Franken talks about how pig farms create vast "lagoons" of pig shit that not only threaten the environment but cause havoc for land-owners within a fairly substantial radius of these environmental nightmares.

Then there is a chapter called "The Waitress and The Lawyer". It is about a female duo of waitress and lawyer who have a rather enlightening conversation about tax-cuts and what they really mean for those at the bottom of the economic barrel. He frames it as a pseudo-play. Sadly, if I were to put myself in the shoes of either character, the one that I resemble most is the waitress - who is not surprisingly the one who comes out with the short end of the stick. By this, I am mostly talking about my level of financial literacy.

One of the stories that sticks out in my mind comes from a chapter entitled "I Meet Former First Lady Barbara Bush And It Doesn't Go Well". I can't remember the source of the first book/magazine article (book I think) where I read what a enormous bitch Barbara Bush, Sr. is, but suffice it to say this was the second time I have read something of this sort. It is a funny but disturbing little chapter about how dismissive and haughty Mrs. Bush apparently is.

There was also a chapter titled "I Attend The White House Correspondents Dinner And Annoy Karl Rove, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, And The Entire Fox News Team". This chapter proves you don't necessarily have to know all the players to find his "insouciance" funny. He definitely was a burr under these peoples skins. He basically made the rounds at this dinner being a bit of a "righteous" shit-disturber.

A chapter called "I Challenge Rich Lowry To A Fight" shows that sometimes even a out-of-shape middle ager can make his point with a bit of a blowhard and there is a chapter called "Operation Chickenhawk" that spoofs right-wingers like Bush, and Limbaugh as well as others that is a little over long in my opinion and has a rather obvious ending (necessarily so though) but is still funny.

There are chapters on every liberals "favorite" shrill right-wing bitch Ann Coulter and the right's poster boy Bill O'Reilly as well as chapters on Bernie Goldberg and (the late) Rev. Jerry Falwell. One chapter deals with the Fox News team of Hannity and Colmes, where he has a unique way of referring to Alan Colmes in print. You will understand immediately if you borrow a copy at your local library or decide to buy your own.

Well I think I've given a good overview of a few of the just under fifty chapters in the book. It is a pretty standard size book of 377 pages including the miscellaneous additions including the sources and acknowledgements - but sadly no index, as he mentions a number of books and people throughout that I would have liked to reference in an index.

So, by all means take a look at this or some of his other books and let me know what you think.


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