Thursday, February 16, 2017

BOOK: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right by Al Franken, 380 pages

About a month ago, I borrowed a random audiobook in my quest to read more nonfiction, called 39 Years of Short-Term Memory Loss: The Early Years of SNL from Someone Who Was There by Tom Davis. I reviewed it here, but found it ultimately boring. In my review, I said I should have read an Al Franken book instead. (This was around the time of the Devos Education hearings, and Al impressed me.)

So I did. I found this older book, published in 2003 long before he became Senator Franken. How could you forget the title?  Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. As I started reading the book, I was wishing it was more recent. So much was focused on Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and George  W Bush. Other than Bush, those other guys are still commenting and around. With all the presidential news these days, Dubya has been fondly remembered, but this book brought back all the stuff about him in his day. Trump is still horrific, but Bush the younger was terrible too and the comparisons now have brightened his image. Good to be reminded of life from only 13 years ago.

The premise of the book is the conservative right saying that the media has a liberal bias, and Al attempts to refute that claim. Sadly, the divide between left and right has only grown since this book was written. Al does a terrific and hilarious job pointing out the hypocrisy and lies of the right. I'm not so naive enough to think he hasn't swung the pendulum farther to the left in his defense, but I didn't care. He is my kind of funny, (I always liked Stuart Smalley) and most of what he says fits in my narrative of life anyway. 

a few (timely) mentions that stood out -
page 188 On C-Span's Washington Journal that morning, Kellyanne Fitzpatrick Conway, one of the Republican party's most loyal flaks,...

page 289 Of course he was lying. Or was he? Maybe [Hannity] was just confused. Sean may be evil, but he's not smart.

page 301 [in reference to the estate/death tax] Which is more important? Making sure Ivanka Trump will be able to live in the style to which she's grown accustomed even after The Donald has left our world?

Franken is funny and smart. The book impressed me, and his work in the Senate that I've seen recently does too. I'd definitely read another of his books. Funny, and I feel a bit smarter after reading it. And doggone it, people like me!