Monday, May 25, 2009

I Am America (and so can you!) by Stephen Colbert

We got this out in audio book form, and while the CDs are slightly abridged, I think that's probably the best way to approach this material. It's one thing to imagine Colbert's over the top stylings in your head; hearing the real thing makes it that much better.

"Shouted" by the author, this book is a spot-on parody of Bill O'Reilly's cliff-note for neocons books, just as the show is a blatant take-off of O'Reilly's TV show. Cobert pretends to genuinely espouse policies and opinions that are only slightly more out there than those proclaimed by real conservatives, with a little help from a few friends (Amy Sedaris and Jon Stewart, amongst others) along the way. Short and punchy, the book takes on subjects ranging from child-rearing to the elderly (who he says are hard of hearing so he insults them in low tones and then flatters them with shouted hackneyed compliments) to immigration (in which he brings the elderly back into things by suggesting they all be hired as border patrol, since they are very good at telling kids to get off their lawns).

If you're chuckling at that last line, you'll laugh out loud as you listen to Colbert try so very hard to pretend he actually believes the things coming out of his mouth. This is parody at its best--just sincere enough to make you think maybe it's real commentary. Or maybe I've just spent too much time on the conservative side of things and it's hard to tell their reality from Colbert's fiction.

There's so much fun to be had in this one--whether it's Colbert's starting off by his statement that he won't give the book to libraries (and if you borrowed the book, you're a welfare queen) or his stated distrust of books, knowledge, and reading--and the wonderful skewering of internet "fact" that goes along with this diatribe--even those who fall on the right side of the political fence should be laughing right along. If you are a fan of the show--and even if you're not--you really need to check this out. It's better than Al Franken's work and less pretentious than the Daily Show. Enjoy!

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