The incredibly well-respected website The Browser just published an interview on five books I think are essential to political satire. Please check it out, and let me know if you like the same books or which other ones you would pick. If I get a chance (and some good recommendations) I will post an updated list with your selections.
– written transcript –
“What Do Glenn Beck & Hugh Hefner Have in Common?” by Lee Camp
There’s a problem with the talking heads on our televisions and radios. And you’re probably thinking, “Lee, what are you if not a talking head?” But I’m speaking of the really big ones. The ones that go out to millions of listeners. The ones with heads the size of small refrigerators. There’s a problem. And that problem is that CRAZY is interesting. It makes for good TV, good books, good viral videos. This is why everyone knows all about Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter but your average American hasn’t heard of Noam Chomski. Out of your f*cking mind is good ratings. Being rational, putting together a logical argument? They went out of style at the same time as poodle skirts and being able to feed an entire family on one salary.
If Randy Quaid and Mel Gibson teamed up, they would have the most popular talk radio show in the world. And they’d tell you about the potbellied aliens that are taking over the government with pheromone warfare, if Glenn Beck didn’t get to it first, and people would tune in every week because bizarre is fascinating. Psychotic sells. Think about it, if you see a guy on a street corner calmly speaking about the global economic recession and he’s standing next to a guy wearing nothing but a tattoo for an NFL championship team that never actually existed and pooping in a Captain Crunch box, who are you going to watch longer? Who’s going to grab your attention?
But the thing we need to remember is that fascinating and good ratings do not equal correct. They don’t even insinuate correct. Good ratings and correct wouldn’t even recognize each other if they were roommates for the past 5 years. They hate each other. Good ratings and correct are like Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends – They seem like they have something to do with each other from a distance, but you get up close and you realize the girls are subtly making faces like they’re engaged to a block of stinky cheese.
So go ahead, watch the psychotics with morbid curiosity like watching a competitive eating competition or a Charlie Sheen sitcom. Watch Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck and Dr. Phil and read “The Secret.” You can even enjoy them. But just remember that when the book or show or movie is over, all you’re left with is a poop in a cereal box. Do not try to understand the poop and do not live your life by the poop!