Sunday, February 12, 2006

Spanking the Donkey

Matt Taibbi is about the best political writer to come along in a long while. He is funny, honest and most importantly, devoid of kneepads. No one captures the phoniness and spinelessness of the political media, and the politicians they cover, better than this guy. I've heard the Hunter Thompson comparisons, but I tend to think of Taibbi as more of a modern Mencken type without the snobbery, racism and ethnocentrism. Maybe the scariest part of what I see in these reviews here on Amazon, and society at large, is the fact that people feel obligated to label Taibbi a "liberal" -- as if that were some type of disease to be avoided at all costs. Liberal basically means free thinking, and looking to change things. Who wouldn’t want to think freely and change this sham system of ours? If liberal is so bad, then please stop reading and go buy another new Ipod, watch more TV, eat more McDonalds and go practice your cheerleading stunts before your brain accidentally shifts into second gear.

It is also amazing to me that so few people are unable to see through the charade of the media and the political process. Taibbi is part of the literate minority that seems to wonder, and try to understand, why so many people are so easily duped into ideological agreement, and vehement support of, a system that mostly serves a connected, corporate elite that rapes the average person’s pocket and exploits their patriotism. He shows how the media, far from being an honest broker, lets this happen in the cases of the shamefully dishonest reporting on the pre-Iraq invasion protests and the candidacy, and utter dismissal of, a sensible, serious guy like Dennis Kucinich. Taibbi's book cuts through all that nonsense, and even tries to understand the uncritical, sycophantic majority that make up my estranged fellow Americans. As long as these shifty candidates continue to get elected by offering enough platitudes on God, guns and gays, expect more of this Bush style parade and rule of the mediocre. I would urge the educated, bewildered, free-thinking minority to take a few hours of refuge in a book like Spanking the Donkey

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