Saturday, March 8, 2014

Dance of the Reptiles by Carl Hiaasen

Fox News likes to claim that it's "balanced." It is anything but. Case in point is the new book NOT COOL by "Gutfeld." He's cohost of The Five and host of Red Eye on Fox. He starts a book (narrated by the excellent Steve Kramer), in decrying the fact that so much of pop culture is about dualities. That is, things must be either hot or cold, left or right, in or out. He then begins ranting for support of his own pet ideology, wherein things are either cool or not cool. He claims that those who are "cool" control the media, the government, fashion, food, etc. He, being "an uncool conservative," is at war with these people (and they at war with him.) So while he complains about dualities, his book is based on one. True, he has points to make regarding those who use cultural memes and political correctness to leech off the system. But this cuts both ways, and what he fails to concede is that both the left and right do so in different but parallel instances. Also, his claim to be a "libertarian" is proved false, starting with his opening remarks about Obama VS McCain. To Gutfeld, Obama was a worthless pretender who played the race card to win, and with no experience to boot. McCain, by contrast, was/is a "decorated war hero." He hopes to get this assumption by you: that because someone spent time in a Vietnamese prison they deserve to be president. Since when, Greg? McCain is a rich man who has lived off his medal for his entire political life, voting pro-engagement, "boots on the ground" in every conflict since (as revenge), sending poor young men to their deaths while waving (and hiding behind) the flag. So it could be argued that this makes him a murderer, not a hero. Military spending has certainly put America in the worst economic debtor situation ever, but Gutfeld, while wearing his Crazy-glued-on libertarian death mask, doesn't mention our "policeman to the world" aspirations (in order to browbeat any business competition) alongside his tallying of domestic social program fraud and waste. In fact, he dismisses the fact that we spend more than the entire world put together on our military, and instead demands we spend more. Then he calls liberals "idiots," not mentioning the fact that 80% of scientists would identify themselves as liberals, while Fox believes the Earth is 6000 years old, that there's no global warming, and that, as he himself puts it, "an iPod is the same as a Big Mac." Really? Do you have to hit Steve Jobs because he was liberal too, Greg? If he'd been a Republican, wouldn't you be quoting Jobs? And since when is an iPod---a visionary device never seen before (and world-changing)---the SAME as two "all beef" patties derived from closely caged cattle processed by a company with no regard for animals or humans? (Put down Ayn Rand for a minute and pick up FAST FOOD NATION.) The truth behind this ridiculous excuse for a book is revealed when Gutfeld denounces progressives as "evil," and change as "ill conceived." There you go, he's said it: He's against progress and change. Against science and education. He wants the good old boys to return in full force, minus any regulation from the hated government (established, in part, to protect us from our super rich Royalist masters.) But don't worry, Greg. That's already happening, and Obama has been co-opted to join that inner circle. Because the true dichotomy in society today is between rich and poor, the users and the used. But of course whatever you have to lie about in order to make it into the former, so be it. ...That's not very cool, though, is it?

    A better book of essays is DANCE OF THE REPTILES by the award winning Carl Hiaasen, taken from his Miami Herald columns. Read by actor Arte Johnson, it focuses on the bizarre politics of Florida, a Republican stronghold filled with on-the-take and profligate Francis Underwood/Jack Abramoff/Horrible Boss types. The imaginative verbal stabs for Hiaasen's narrator include Bernie Madoff, drug dealers, terrible tourists, crazed celebrities, gun nuts, war hawks, and politicians like Marco Rubio, who denied knowledge of $800 toilet seats and a boondoggle courthouse which he formerly applauded and approved. Called to order, these guys deny, deny, deny. Of course if they'd just tell the truth, maybe they wouldn't be caught up to their gills in mud.

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