Best known as Detective John Munch on the hit TV series Homicide
, Richard Belzer is also an accomplished standup comedian with a knack for political commentary in the tradition of Mort Sahl and Dick Gregory. In UFOs, JFK, and Elvis
, he applies his analytic powers to two of the most controversial topics of the late 20th century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the alleged U.S. government cover-up of the existence of alien life. (The reference in the title is the book's only substantial Elvis sighting.)
Belzer sensibly avoids pretending to have the answers, opting instead to focus on the questions themselves. Why does the Zapruder film fail to synchronize with other footage of the Kennedy shooting? What's the real background on Lee Harvey Oswald--and who really posed for that famous backyard photo? Did NASA regularly suppress UFO sightings by Apollo and Gemini astronauts? And how about that giant face on the surface of Mars? While Belzer's sarcastic, antiauthoritarian tone may not convince you that aliens walk among us, it's rather difficult by book's end to fully dismiss his belief that "history is just a collection of accepted lies" told to keep the masses in line. --Ron Hogan
From Publishers Weekly
First Mort Sahl, now Richard Belzer. Every now and then a political comedian finds himself obsessed with the murder of John F. KennedyAand sacrifices the funny in the process. Though this book is categorized as humor, it offers sarcasm but few laughs. And why should it? Belzer, now best known as Detective Munch on TV's Homicide, is serious here. Obsessed with conspiracies, he apparently read a bunch of books (many from fringe publishers) on the subject and decided to share the fruit of his musings. Most concern the assassination, and, indeed, many aspects remain in dispute. But when he declares Gerald Posner's Case Closed "a grossly overstuffed suitcase," Belzer doesn't inspire confidence, and he doesn't offer footnotes so readers can check his sources. The second half of the book relies significantly on conspiracy expert Jim Marrs, author of Alien Agenda. Belzer relates that many people who've consented to alien experimentation have told Marrs they don't consider it a violation. No wonder Belzer says, "I believe that historyApast and currentAis just a collection of accepted lies." He wrote this book, he claims, to inspire us to question authority. Mr. Belzer, tell jokes. Author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.