Friday, May 7, 2010
Cannonball Read Entry #23: America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide To Democracy Inaction - Jon Stewart & The Daily Show Writers
I think we can all agree that 2004 was...Well, it wasn't a great year. We elected a president who was functionally illiterate, we were stuck in a poorly-planned war, and Courtney Love had just unleashed "America's Sweetheart" on the general public.
All in all, it could have gone better, really.
Such is the problem with Jon Stewart (And The Daily Show Writers)'s "America: The Book": It's throwback to an era that, quite frankly, is still just a little too fresh in our minds for us to look back fondly on.
The good news is, with the amount of corruption in the American political system at the time, 2004 was the year where "The Daily Show" really began to hit it's stride, and it shows: "America: The Book" is hysterically funny; it's really not a stretch to call it the standard for modern satire and social commentary.
The format is meant to resemble one of those crappy little school text-books you've no doubt been subjected to, down to the end of chapter question sections and the student registration section on the inside of the cover of the book. Each chapter is dedicated to a different aspect of the American political system, and for a book that's meant to be little more than a spoof, it's oddly informative. You can call "The Daily Show" many things, but you can never accuse it of talking down to its audience.
The only problem with the book is that, well, it's just really dated at this point. While this sometimes works to its advantage by being almost foreshadowing of various preceding scandals that followed the book, for the most part, it's a look back on something we'd all kinda like to forget about.
It hurts to say this, but as satire, America (The Book) is definitely worth a look, at least to see what balanced, equal-opportunity humour really looks like. But if you didn't read it when it first came out, you're just missing a huge, fundamental part of what made the book funny in the first place; You'll still laugh, you'll just be laughing too late.