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The Worst Person in the World: And 202 Strong Contenders Hardcover – September 1, 2006
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The stinkers, the rascals, the reprobates. . . and the just plain dumb.
(Yes, Bill, he's talking about you.)
Geraldo Rivera. The Coca-Cola Company. Victoria Gotti. Tom Cruise. Various members of the Bush administration. All have earned the dishonor of "Worst Person in the World," awarded by MSNBC's witty and controversial reporter Keith Olbermann on his nightly MSNBC show Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
Now, he brings all his bronze, silver, and gold medalists together in this wildly entertaining collection that reveals just how twisted people can beand how much fun it is to call them out on it.
From tongue-in-cheek observations to truly horrific accounts, Olbermann skewers both the mighty and the meek, the well-known and the anonymous for their misdeeds, including:
Ann Coulter, for, among other things, calling Muslims "ragheads" in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington
Barbara Bush, for making a generous donation to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund earmarked exclusively for the purchase of computer software . . . software sold by her son, Neil
The staff of Your World with Neil Cavuto, for the story about the murders of Iraqi civilians that was accompanied by the on-screen graphic: "All-out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?"
Olbermann also reports on some of the recent fallout from his awards, such as the controversy with John Gibson and the mysterious disappearance of remarks about Cindy Sheehan on Rush Limbaugh's Web site. Plus, he reveals the winner of the most coveted award of all: "Worst in Show."
From Publishers Weekly
For his first book as a newsman, the smart, sarcastic host of MSNBC's nightly newsmagazine program Countdown with Keith Olbermann has compiled nearly one years' worth of his wickedly righteous Worst Person in the World feature. Of course, when he says "worst," Olbermann isn't talking about Hitler; these specimens-including Tom Cruise, OJ Simpson and Ann Coulter-are "the mortal enemies of honesty and dignity, of selflessness and class." Though the peppery host often pillories the merely stupid or ridiculous behavior of regular Americans and celebrities, the recurring theme is corporate, political and media malfeasance of every stripe. FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security, school boards around the country, Rush Limbaugh and George Bush all make multiple appearances. But the real star of the book-not counting Olbermann himself-is his ratings rival Bill O'Reilly (their shows air at the same time), who gets taken to task again and again. Depending on your politics, you're either going to love or hate the fierce, progressive Olbermann, and his printed rants aren't nearly as cathartic as they are when delivered in his confident, mocking boom, but this collection makes a fine book for flipping.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you enjoyed Keith's Countdown show on MSNBC you will enjoy this book.
Brings back some good memories of his show. I wish it was still on.
Living in Seoul, it takes an aggressive interest in foreign news to stay abreast of all the goings-on in America, and so although I'd heard of Keith Olberman and seen a few of his broadcasts, I didn't know really what this book was about. I thought it was another pundit's take on the grisly world of politics, and figured checking out another point of view couldn't hurt.
The book is based on a segment of his show where he reveals the "worst" people in the world, the appellate usually based on some sort of atrocious and self-serving criminal action. The book can be read in roughly an hour, and is patterned very much like The Darwin Awards series, if they were mostly politically oriented. To that end, a sizable chunk of the book is pretty funny, but usually only when skewering idiot criminals who try to sell crack to cops.
The book, however, suffers from a few things. First of all, there's a notable lack of context. Many different people are name-dropped (and some of them are given unexplained nicknames) and as someone who isn't entirely plugged into current affairs, I had to look up some of the people Olbermann mentions. Secondly, some of Olbermann's explanations suffer from the same sort of priggishness that he accuses these "worst people in the world" of. For instance, his prologue lambasts John Gibson for being "intolerant" because Gibson claimed his religion is the only true religion. How dastardly!
Wait a minute. I'm confused. If someone chooses a religion to believe in, isn't it because they think that religion is right and all others are wrong? Who worships a God that they think "might" exist? Gibson says, "If someone chooses the wrong religion, they're not going to have to answer to me." And this, Olbermann claims, sounds just like the rationalizations of "religious nut bag terrorists." Um. It sounds like every Christian, Muslim, or practicing Jew in the world. It's possible that NO religion has it 100% right, but it is NOT possible that they are ALL valid and true, making Gibson's statement pretty standard for people of faith.
Another one of the entries that stuck out to me was March 15th's. The silver place "worst persons in the world" for that day were "doubters about global warming," this because residents of South Korea were warned of "yellow sand" falling from the sky. If he had fact checked, he would've found out that the yellow precipitation (it is called "yellow dust" in Korea) is a yearly, springtime phenomenon in Seoul that is the result of industrial pollution blowing over from China. Trust me. I've lived through five seasons of it. It's nasty, wrecks your sinuses, and is pretty nasty, but it also has nothing to do with global warming.
Don't get me wrong. I mostly enjoyed the book, but it made me sad to see it so spotted with the same rashly smug condecension that the current political arena is already bursting with. Is there no one capable of leveling an even-handed gaze at the political arena? Even the 5- and 1-star reviews on this site seem inspired by the same "One Label For One Truth" ideal that should scare any right-thinking individual. I was once under the impression that Olbermann was a calm, reasonable individual who didn't let personal ideals cloud his judgement. I'm not saying he's NOT that thing, but I am saying his book certainly doesn't represent that stance.
And so my search for "fair and balanced" continues...
Some of the writing seems a little stiff, however, this was meant to be commentary on a television show and has to be read as if you were listening to Olbermann speak the words. It that context, the book is funny and interesting with a nice does of sarcastic humor thrown in.
If you are an FNC fan or a big fan of Billo, don't bother with the book. If, however, you are independent in your thinking then you will probably enjoy the book.