BOOK REVIEW: Lies (And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them) – A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right by Al Franken

This is another book I’m somewhat confident I got from my Dad.  It was either that, or an amazing, defunct website. 

Since it doesn’t have any highlighting marks, I’m tempted to say it was the website.  But, I’ll talk more about my long-lost love on another post.

Spoiler-free.  Although, recalling the political dumpster fires Al Franken discusses spoiled my mood.

I feel like I would’ve liked this book more before the author, Al Franken, entered politics. 

I definitely would’ve liked this book more before Al Franken left politics – or, at least, took a “hiatus” after several woman accused him of groping them during the height of the #MeToo movement.

But, since I read it after the truth about Franken came out, I saw all the disturbing “humorous” moments.  I found myself asking if there was a difference between someone’s “real life personality” & their idea of what’s humorous.

Basically, Franken has a lot of little jokes spread throughout his recounting of the Bush administration & how the right-wing media spreads misinformation.  To do this, he uses a variety of mediums:

  • Chapters with charts, quotations, footnotes – your basic analytical dissection
  • Scripts
  • Cartoons
  • Fake tests

The chapters being different kept the topic interesting.  That’s a hard task with politics.

However, since some of the jokes were subtle, it was hard to tell what was an anecdote & what was a joke.

Unfortunately, the offensive topics for “jokes” undercut all the quality work of Al & TeamFranken (a group of Harvard students working on the book with Franken):

  • Poverty
  • Child labor
  • Japanese internment camps
  • Comparing the foundation of Homeland Security to date rape
  • Floating an idea of dressing up professional cheerleaders in Burkas to do a sexualized dance routine at a USO show after 9/11 & had to be told it was a bad idea

That’s not to say Lies (And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them) wasn’t funny.  It really was amusing.  Just not when it was “punching down” on the disadvantaged & scapegoated.

It also raised some insightful points.  Looking back, it was like George W. Bush was a “Donald Trump Lite” president.  It made me miss him – a feeling I never expected to experience.

Final Score:

2 out of 5 stars!  I’d have rated this “1.5 to 2 stars,” but I wanted to settle on a solid number after Zero Waste Home introduced the “0.5” star into my rating system.

It was funny.  But, it wasn’t funny enough to make me overlook the casual racism, sexism, & “poor taste” humor.

I’d like to hope that, in the past 16 years, with the #MeToo & #BlackLivesMatter movements, Al Franken’s views have changed.  I really do. 

But, reading this book after those movements & having experienced my own slights, it raised an alarm for me. 

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