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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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09/27/2004 Archived Entry: "Book Review: America (The Book)"

America (The Book)
By Jon Stewart, Ben Karlin and David Javerbaum
Warner Books

Review by Tom Good

Just in time for this year's Presidential election, the writers of The Daily Show have created America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction. This guide to the past, present, and future of American Democracy explains everything from the invention of democracy by "Our Big Fat Greek Forerunners" to a future inhabited by "a sub-race of genetically perfect blonde toddlers who are only allowed to vote because they can kill with their minds."

This book is not just a collection of jokes, but a parody of school textbooks, complete with discussion questions ("Why do you think the Framers made the Constitution so soul-crushingly boring?") and classroom activities at the end of each chapter. This structure adds considerable nostalgic humor for those of us who have been out of school for a while. One of my favorite sections explains the difference between Democrats and Republicans:

"The Republican Party is the party of nostalgia. It seeks to return America to a simpler, more innocent and moral past that never actually existed. The Democrats are utopians. The seek to create an America so fair and non-judgemental that life becomes an unbearable series of apologies."

America also contains a bonus chapter about the rest of the world, where we learn, for example, that "New Zealand boasts a remarkable 50 sheep for every Orc." On the whole, I really enjoyed this book. It is funny from cover to cover, and I could not resist reading a lot of quotes from it out loud. If you like The Daily Show, America is a must-have book.

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