Customer Review

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as funny as *The Daily Show* nor as clever as *The Onion*, October 26, 2007
This review is from: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction (Hardcover)
This book was a gift from one of my die-hard Democrat, old school liberal friends. Like many other coffee table books, it sat unread, gathering dust on my shelf. Something finally possessed me to read it, I read it cover to cover, and now here I am, filing my obligatory report. Suffice it to say that while I found the book mildly amusing, it isn't a keeper.

Sadly, the book is not nearly as funny as *The Daily Show* itself. Maybe I would have liked this book more if I weren't so spoiled on the really clever, witty, and occasionally brilliant writing of the folks at *The Onion.* Then there was the realization that, other than being progressive and left-leaning, I don't think I fall into the book's target demographic of young hipsters. Regular jokes about "bling," "mochachina," and "mother f*ckers who love their mother f*ckin' tea" just left me cold. As well, the use of profanity seemed gratuitous and, because it wasn't bleeped out and therefore somehow even more scandalous, just not that funny.

That said, there was one truly exceptional piece of writing in the book--on the introductory page to the chapter on the media, the authors tear the Fourth Estate a new one for their constitutional inability to investigate and report on substantive issues whose open discussion is essential to the health of our democratic republic. Of course, in Monty Python-esque fasion, the next page featured a new, more "acceptable" introduction to the chapter on the media. I got a big kick out of that, in an "oh my god what is happening to my country" sort of way.

As well, the layout of the book, mimicking as it does a public school social studies textbook (down to the stamp inside the front cover for student names), is really well conceived and executed. The sometimes tedious and unfunny text is supplemented by scores of ridiculous timelines, diagrams, textboxes, and quizzes, and it was in these detailed elements that the book redeemed itself. (After all, who doesn't want their own copy of naked Supreme Court justice paper dolls?)

So there you have it: America (The Book Review). There will be a pop quiz on this review next period. Any questions?
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 25, 2008 11:37:46 AM PDT
JG says:
I haven't heard anyone use the words "cleaver, witty...brilliant" to describe the Onion in a very long time.

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 8:40:29 AM PST
Robert Bell says:
Good Thoughtful Review. I think many of the people here are not reviewing the book, but rather "The Daily Show" and their political beliefs in general.

Political Satire can be funny, and John Stewart can be laugh-out-loud funny, but this book was a sad disappointment.

But I think many people feel that any criticism of the book is a criticism of Liberal political thought, so they all fall in lock-step in praise of an unfunny book, because we all have to support The Daily Show and by extension, liberalism.

Sorry, but I love John Stewart, but this book isn't funny.

Note that for ANY book/CD/DVD, Amazon bunches up positive reviews a the front. They want to sell books, and negative reviews don't sell books. I wonder how many reviews, particularly the one-sentence ones, are bot-created shill spam.

As for the Onion, JG has not seen many of their video pieces lately, including "Today Now!", the Onion Morning show. They do a pretty good job of sending up network newscasts.

Posted on Nov 13, 2010 1:08:31 PM PST
Thanks, Jason for a REAL review. Not being a die-hard Dem (are there many these days?), I almost skipped your review, but didn't!
And I'm glad I didn't. I'm not sure exactly WHAT I am these days, but do appreciate the spin Jon Stewart and writers put on a very sad
state of reality with our country and its concerns. I applaud you for your straight-forwardness and not just Poo-poo'ng the book because it's "not a keeper". Think we all need to laugh these days...very good for our health! I'm anxious to read our new "textbook" and will hopefully be ready for the pop quiz!!
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Location: Urbana, IL

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