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July 11, 2004 - Who's to say when dissent descends into sedition?

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Book Wrangler

July 11, 2004

By Bob Patterson


It seems a certain well publicized documentary film has open the floodgates in bookstores for a tidal wave of written words concerning George W. Bush and the 2004 presidential election contest.  We wandered around some bookstores on Los Angeles’ Westside to survey the publishing phenomenon.


There was such a wide variety of books touching on the subject that we wondered if someone will write a guidebook to help bewildered consumers sort through the genre. 


After flipping through several about the Bush family, the family’s connection to the House of Saud, and various attempts at fact checking that invariably had the word “lies” in the title, we purchased 50 Reasons Not To Vote For Bush by Robert Sterling ($9.95 paperback Feral House).


The book, which includes a rant by Paul Krassner as the 51st reason, runs the gamut from a chapter, Where’s Osama?, which consists of two quotes by the president on the efforts to find Osama, to one titled He’s a Wimp, which is a brief recap of the appearance on the aircraft carrier that includes the information that while the president was a senior in high school, he was a cheerleader.  He describes the celebration at sea with the words:  “prances,” “sashaying” and the phrase “winking at the troops.” 


Sterling also brings in chapters on Enron and some ancient information about the president’s grandfather’s business associates. 


Krassner writes:  “The real problem was too much information rather than too little.”  Sterling provides documentation at the end of each section including the one that consists of two of the president’s quotes. 


Howard Stern might (in his excursion into the realm of amateur politics for concerned citizens), if he flips through this book, buy a carton of them to give out during the election season.


It will be interesting to see if Laura Ingraham addresses the issues raised by this book.  Presumably, she could dismantle each chapter completely with her laser wit and succinct one-liners, but most likely, if she notices this book’s existence at all, she will summarily dismiss it as inconsequential.  The image that her potential review of this book evokes would be one of an indulgent dad dealing with noisy children: “Yes, yes, of course, now run along and play.” 


Most of the conservative talk show hosts will admit that the president has some drawbacks as far as getting their complete enthusiastic endorsements, but they will be almost unanimous in pointing out that the alternative is a rather uncharismatic fellow who isn’t charming and handsome.  Living in the county where the real Hollywood is located, it is obvious that Americans can forgive anything except being boring.  You don’t need the House Un-American Activities Committee to learn that lesson.  Speaking of which, how long will it be in this era of proliferating inquiries, before one of the talking posse advocates reviving that nostalgic bit of congressional investigative work to promulgate the “distention is sedition” philosophy? 


As the election process continues, readers will wade through a morass of possibilities and as the day of balloting approaches, the book wrangler will point out various and sundry items of possible interest for our cadre of readers around the world.


What’s The Matter With Kansas by Thomas Frank ($24 Metropolitan Book)

Sometimes we just like to mention a book just to annoy a friend in Concordia with the title.


Revised and Expanded Hippie Dictionary by John Bassett McCleary  ($19.95 paperback - Ten Speed Press) 

If you’ve forgotten some of the groovy expressions, you can refresh your memory and pronounce this book: “Faaaaar out!”


Killed Great Journalism: Too Hot to Print Edited by David Wallis ($16.95 paperback Nation Books) 

In a country where the TV news shows all cover the same stories (in approximately the same order) how can there be any overlooked blockbuster topics?


Bad Boys Down Under by Nancy Warren ($14 {US} Kensington Publishing Corp.)

Seeing an Australian book for sale in a new bookstore in Los Angeles was a bit of a surprise.


The Leather Book by Anne Laure Quilleriet ($29.95 Assouline) 

Finding a book aimed at the leather fetish audience in Los Angeles was no big surprise, but seeing it for sale in the car wash for the stars (on Sepulveda Blvd.) did catch us off guard.


That should give you some items to consider and fulfill my plug quota.  Tune in for the next Book Wrangler. 

Copyright 2004 – Robert Patterson


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

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