i have to admit that i have been a bit of a stephen colbert fan ever since i used to watch him do the most insanely hilarious interviews on the daily show many years ago. once he got his own show i didn't really follow him all that closely, but since his book came out i've been wanting to read it. and so i borrowed a copy (something he explicitly demands his readers NOT do - he shamelessly and hilariously pleads for people to buy, not borrow), and i read it in a couple of days.
one of the nights i was reading it, i was sitting up in bed, and shannon was already asleep next to me. until the quake hit. not an earthquake, but a fit of unsuccessfully restrained laughter that resulted in my body shaking - no, convulsing - and the bed following suit. my sleeping wife was irritated. i was entertained and amused. but that's about the end of it.
and that's my basic review of the book: its funny. but i don't think its particularly poignant in terms of accomplishing anything. for those who don't know, colbert is a satirist. he is a character, peddling basically right wing conservative republican views in a (relentlessly) tongue-in-cheek way. he takes what is assumed to be a basic belief of a conservative american and he then stretches it to its most ridiculous conclusions in a way that is undeniably funny, even if you are (wittingly or not) the butt of his joke.
there really is no denying his sense of humor. he has a knack for evoking laughter. but is that all? might there be more noble purposes for satire? as i read the book (and don't get me wrong - i thoroughly enjoyed the sucker), i couldn't help but think that he is only a mocker; that nothing constructive is happening here. and maybe that's ok. and maybe its not. i'm not sure.
but i would recommend this book to those who would like to laugh, and even to those who are right wing conservative republicans, because there just might be some truth in some of this satire that might do something more than entertain. maybe.
as a final note, i find it interesting that the liberals are satirizing the conservatives. but the conservatives? i don't see the satire. i only see angry, almost militant, tv and radio talk show hosts who spew hate and fear from the powerful positions. clearly this isn't an official strategy on either side, but i find the different political tactics interesting, and even telling.
what do you think...?