October 08, 2003

Franken Shoots. He Scores!

I notice Ahnold won the governor election out there in California. What a train wreck. I am completely ignorant of California politics and Gray Davis, but it seems to me that most of the trouble and discontent out there was caused by the whole Enron thing, and that wasn't Davis' fault, was it? Why is Davis now out of office while Kenny Boy Lay of Enron is still hitting the slopes in Aspen?

Oh well, I suppose it's payback time. I'm sure by the time 24 hours have passed, they'll have their first 10,000 signatures on a Recall Ahnold petition. And if Ahnold doesn't get 50% of the vote, it goes to whomever else gets a plurality. Based on what little I know, it might actually end up being some competent Republican like McClintock (by competent, I mean not a cartoon character, not necessarily a good guy) or maybe this time some bigger Democratic names like Feinstein will climb into the race. It's fun to watch, but I'd hate to be living in California, which has just officially replaced Florida as the national laughingstock.

My reading pace has slowed to a crawl since classes have really gotten into full swing. I find myself reading less than 15 minutes a day lately because there are just too many other things competing for my attention. That's the only reason it took me so long to finish the truly funny and worthwhile "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" by Al Franken.

To be fair, there are a couple of parts of the book that didn't work so great for me. I like it best when he simply quotes some conservative pundit at length and then counts lie after lie after lie, usually with a lot of sarcasm and humor thrown in. I think I got the biggest kick out of the Ann Coulter chapter. At one point, she claimed that the NY Times hadn't prominently covered the death of race car driver Dale Earnhardt. She was trying to show how out of touch the so-called liberal elite media is with the common man.

Franken reproduced a copy of the front page of the NY Times on the day after Earnhardt's death, circled the prominent front-page story about Earnhardt and wrote "See!" with a big arrow pointing at it. I mean, you can't get a more solid refutation than that. And he has that kind of tongue-in-cheek thing throughout, with some really good jabs, too, about how hateful, dishonest and mean some of these people really are.

I was thoroughly entertained, and even though I read a copy that I had checked out from the library, Michelle was interested in it, so I used that as an excuse to buy the book. I get a big discount at Bookshop anyway, and I had some bookstore gift certificates to redeem, so there's all my rationalizations. I almost bought Krugman's latest book while I was there in a spending frenzy, but then I saw that it was mostly recycled columns, many of which I'd already read. Too bad. I mean, it's good reading, but I was hoping for something fresh.

I'm glad Franken wrote a better book than his last two efforts, one of which was mediocre ("Why Not Me?") and one was awful ("Oh! The Things I Know!"). This is his best book, much better even than "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot", and I really hope the success propels him to continue with more such books.

Posted by Observer at October 8, 2003 07:05 AM
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I was surprised that it felt even more "fact-checked" than Conason's book with a similar title. Not just because he mentioned fact-checking every chapter, but because he gave the sources in the text. It's definately the most entertaining of the genre, too.

It's a shame that exposing lies of the right is a genre now.

Posted by: Shamhat on October 8, 2003 10:09 AM

I believe on NBC last night Tom Brokaw (ok, I admit not watching enough television news so I don't really know how to spell his name anymore) said they had a "Total Recall" ... I was very angry that he would produce such an awful joke.

Posted by: Polerand on October 8, 2003 12:06 PM

As a californian, I'm quite depressed.

Posted by: JustMary on October 9, 2003 05:56 AM