Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert

Link to Amazon synopsis:

This is my first step into the realm of audiobooks on this list. In the end I decided to include it because, after all, a book is a book. Also, I will be able to cover more ground, so to speak, by using my time driving to "read". I have already acquired my next two audiobooks after this one, so I think it is a trend that will be around a while.

For those of you who don't know Stephen Colbert, he has a mock-news show on the Comedy Channel that I find pretty humorous. As with most shows on the Comedy Channel, it is not considered a show appropriate for kids, so my expectations were similarly set for this book. Wow. Did he ever exceed my expectations on that one. Not only are parts of this book not suitable for a younger audience, VERY FEW parts of this book ARE suitable for a younger audience. Did you catch the subtle emphasis there. If you are under the age of 16, do not pick this one up, whether it is an audiobook or not. I would make that warning on the basis of sexual references, foul language, and just as dangerous: sarcasm that you might not pick up which would shape your views of what is being said.

The redeeming value in this book is Colbert's staunch conservative approach. I didn't know it before picking the book up, but he is a devout Catholic. Like, Sunday school teacher devout. He openly bashes every other religion, opinion or group that does not believe in Catholic principles. Why do I find that redeeming? Because even though I am not, have not and will not ever be a Catholic, some of the values that mainstream Catholicism espouses fit with my traditional conservative set of values. While I don't always agree with his method of discussing his beliefs, which is basically to insult every other way of thinking, it is that strong approach mixed with a heavy dose of sarcasm that got him his own show on the Comedy Channel. His really, really offensive remarks are couched in subtle mannerisms that leave you laughing and at the same time wondering if he really believes what he just said or if it was just a joke. After a few chapters you realize that he really does believe those things, but he protects himself from attack through comic absurdity. You or I could never express similar views, even though our statements would probably be much more moderate and tolerant, but he can get away with it and we can't.

So would I recommend this book? Yes, with the right caveats and only to the right people. If you can't stomach strong language, or won't follow instructions when I tell you which parts to skip (the two parts with the drunk guy at the ball game are the worst, I think), then you won't get a recommendation from me. For the rest of you, if you want to hear a mainstream media man preach conservative values in a contentious way, then this is the book for you.

Date Completed: 10/13/08

Rating: 3.5


Heather said...

I have started reading your reviews and I like them.