61st anniversary of his 39th birthday.We do not throw around a lot of praise for “political books” here at Wonkette, because almost all political books are awful. The Clothes Have No Emperor is an exception. This droll accounting of the Reagan presidency was published in 1989, and your editor still has the dog-eared, scribble-annotated trade paperback on his bookshelf. It’s the only honest history of the Ronald Reagan 1980s. And now it’s available again, as an eBook/iPad thing you can download. If there’s any possible antidote to the hundred-foot-long shit sandwich of Reagan Worship pummeling America this weekend, you’ll find it within the pages of this book by Paul Slansky. Thrill to Nancy telling Ronnie what to say for eight wacky years, etc.!

As a reader of blogs, you will be delighted by the blog-like chronological items that make up this complete assessment of the Reagan production. As a hater of Washington media, you will recoil with recognition at this damning pile of evidence proving that today’s idiot-beltway hero-worship dingbat crap factory truly began in 1980, when the Washington press corps was presented with a narrative by Reagan’s handlers: America wanted to “feel good again,” and the empty-eyed smiling face of Ronald Reagan was exactly the way to “bring fun back” to a nation crippled by recession, unemployment, lost wars and humiliation in the Middle East. (Hah, sound familiar?)

Steal This Book (via Paypal)Like SPY Magazine and The Bonfire of the Vanities, this is one of those essential documents of the 1980s — a time of idiocy and fraud, and a time we can now see as the Birth of a Nation’s Stupidity. We are going to be re-reading it again this afternoon, instead of working.

It’s one of those Radiohead-style “choose how much you want to pay” deals, so go on over and pay a fair price for something that will help you not go insane over this Stupid Bowl Weekend. [The Clothes Have No Emperor]

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  • LiveToServeYa

    Thanks. Nothing takes the edge off the Current Old Days like tales of the Bad Old Days.

    • x111e7thst

      The important difference between the then and the now is that then
      I had access to oh my god so much cheap opium.

  • I'm not sure if that's Raygun or Darth Vader without his mask. Either way, the end result is the same. Opulent technological society's ultimate weapons bested by a combination of rebels and angry hairy people with spears due to greed, arrogance, stupidity and a failure to think first before reacting.

  • OC_Surf_Serf

    Rayguns 8 years was honoured with the introduction of Prozac in late 1987…just sayin'

    • Every time you hear/read something about "Reagan's Greatness" between now and Monday, when America is bombed by Egypt, pick up your Kindle-iPad thing and read a random page of this book. I guarantee there is stuff in here you don't remember at all.

  • Fox n Fiends

    Ah yes, the Godfather of the National Deficit remembered. He really did have empty eyes.

  • prommie

    I has a sad. As bad as it was, its so much worse now. If it weren't for this netflix ad here with the pretty messican girl with the blindingly beautiful hooters, I'd be crying right now, but boobies, they are my prozac, I guess.

    • BornInATrailer

      Unfair. I have the 3 gay credit score dudes.

    • tcaalaw

      Darn, all I have is the LifeLock ad!

    • Qatarded

      Well, I guess we have Tracking Cookies, because I can't disclose the ad I am seeing. I need to reset Safari and quit Googling natural remedies for "certain" conditions.

    • Lost_Teabaggers

      Hell with all of you…I have a debt negotiator ad like I'm sort of dead beat and they just want me to 'pay back' money I borrowed. This is 'Merika, damnit and until the banks pay back the money they 'borrowed' (all 14 trillion of it), then I say they can get in line like the others…'cept my bookey, ALWAYS pay the bookey.

    • Texan_Bulldog

      Nature Made Fish Oil ad here. Nice…

    • PsycWench

      Apparently I "don't have time to be sick" and should buy some cold medicine. I really don't have time to be sick (how'd they know that?) but I also rarely get sick…suck on that, Cold-Eze!

    • SorosBot

      I usually also get Megan Fox's tits, but right now I've got a car ad. Shows what they know; I neither need nor want a car.

    • Native_of_SL_UT

      I'm getting a "Guffens, adopt your own virtual pet" ad, which I would do if they were messican girls with blindingly beautiful hooters, but they're not.

    • Ramon X

      I will keep reloading this page until I see the blind messican lady. This isn't a prank, is it?

      • prommie

        She is awe-inspiring, like a sunset over the Grand Canyon.

    • randoracer

      Ha ha! I got the blindingly beautiful boobie chick, bitches!

    • prommie

      I have decided that whats going on is that the great pumpkins only reveal themselves to the most sincere wonketteer, and I am so sincere in my loving adoration of this lady's amazing ta tas.

  • Boredw/Gravity

    I had this book, but lost it several years ago. I was deliberately nonpolitical in the 80's, but this book opened my eyes. I'm glad to see it's available again.

  • genxr

    Should we spend the weekend watching Iron Eagle and Red Dawn?

  • SPY Magazine much greater than The Bonfire of the Vanities

    Otherwise, what Ken said.

    • Oblios_Cap

      No Sacred Cows!

    • PsycWench

      Let us all unite against short-fingered vulgarians!

  • AngryBlakGuy

    …remember that one kid in the neighborhood that swore to almighty God that wrestling was real and there wasn't a damn thing anyone could say to him to convince him otherwise?! Well, all those dumb-asses who worship Reagan's legacy are the adult equivalent!!!

    • It's still the same kid, but all "grown" up and fat.

      • AngryBlakGuy

        …yeah and the fact that they enjoyed watching 2 greased up men in nothing more than underwear and leather boots wrestling with each other, kinda explains a lot doesn't it?

    • Lost_Teabaggers

      Nice analysis and totally true…also, the kid who was dug in on the whole Santa Claus thing and thought when someone died in movies, they died in reality. Sort of the basis for the beginning of conservative delusion….low hanging fruit as it were. Oh and I love the whole 'American Exceptionalism' shit…I mean you have to be really, really, REALLY ignorant of American history to buy the bullshit the 'American Exceptionalism' believers spew about our holy nation.

  • AnAmericanInTO

    I was so happy to get this book used about a decade ago. Honestly, I thought that I was the only one who had even heard of it, much less loved it.

    It says on Slansky's bio on the back that he Esquire's Dubious Achievement Awards. What the hell happened to those? I seem to recall that we had lost the ability to laugh after September 11th and they dropped them forever. Bah!

  • PublicLuxury

    I despise Reagan and the Reagan years. He chose ignorance. He chose to persecute sections of the population. I chose information and tolerance. He decided to enhance greed. I decided to give to my fellow man.

    The man is/was/continues to be a blight.

    There has to be some kind of chemical that will destroy the Reagan blight.

    • MrsBiggTime

      From those of us in R&D, we've just about tried everything. Prozak-Jello shooters, opium-laced pot, pot-laced opium, opium-laced opium. Nothing will take the stink off that shit, but it won;t stop us from trying.

    • Lost_Teabaggers

      Too late man…like all things the Democratic side was too slow to dismiss the fantasy and now they seem to have decided Reagan was awesome too. Fucking catastrophy from those spineless jellyfish, they even let conservative fuck tension towards Reagan outstrip presidents who actually DID beneficial things for society, like FDR. I laughed my ass off at that lame history channel thing when the Raygun fantasy somehow got him ranked above FDR…then I realized what times we live in and got depressed.

  • TanzbodenKoenig

    I wonder if this will be on Glenn Beck's reading list for this month?

  • Come here a minute

    Well, Radiohead had shit-tons of money when I downloaded their e-book, In Rainbows, so I paid accordingly. I'll just assume this Slansky guy is like his contemporaries, great journalists such as Tom Friedman, and super loaded with his wife's cash.

  • mereoblivion

    Best captured for me in the distance between the B-52s and, oh, almost anybody from the Bush 2 years.

  • Extemporanus

    I intend to honor the memory of Ronald Reagan in the same way that I have every other year: by stripping down to my birthday suit and furiously jerking off to a worn-out old videotape compilation of Fawn Hall's Senate testimony.

    • Tommmcatt

      You are almost dangerously sexy, you know that?

      • Extemporanus™

        And you are much too kind, my Keane feline friend.

        After leaving that comment, I thought to myself, "Hmm…I wonder if that might actually be something that I would enjoy?"

        Thirty-five minutes, two argyle socks, and one YouTube video later, I'm pleasantly surprised to report that "taking the fifth" (as the one-handed act shall henceforth be called) most certainly would be. Oh my fucking god would it ever!

        I know that you're not much in to the ladies, but you really must try it. Her hair and outfit alone are simply fapulous!

    • el_donaldo

      ah, Fawn Hall. She apparently spent some time as a crackhead back in the 90s. If we knew then, it probably wouldn't have been too hard to get a handjob from her. Like Palin in about 10 years.

      • BornInATrailer

        Given the recent Todd revelations, Sarah might be be a little stingy with the ol' tug 'n tickle.

        • OneDollarJuana

          Besides, she always quits before the job is done.

    • Native_of_SL_UT

      I intend to honor Mr Reagan by emulating him as much as I can.
      I will start out by…
      Wait, what were we talking about?

    • PsycWench

      Not Oliver North's?

      • Extemporanus

        Don't ask, don't tell!

    • LionelHutzEsq

      I was going to do the same thing, but accidentally got Tammy Faye Baker….

      I don't think the little Hutz is going to rise again.

    • I had completely forgotten about Fawn Hall! That was one impressively high mound of hair. Wiki says she ended up married to The Doors' ex-manager and addicted to crack in the '90s.

      I listened to the Ollie North testimony on the radio along with several friends/co-workers. We all thought the whole thing was farcical and laugh-out loud funny, and that nobody could possibly be taking this gung-ho asshole seriously. Then we'd go home, watch the news, and find out that everybody watching the shit on TV had totally been snowballed by his act.

    • I'd forgotten how much she looked like Linda Hamilton in the first Terminator movie.

  • Beowoof

    I had a professor of political science as an undergrad who was convinced that they wealthy secretly selected every person to run for the presidency. Thus, when Regan was elected it seems they were quite happy to have a retard with a pompadour to tell what to do. The previous president has made me think there may be something to what Dr. O thought about this topic.

    • HistoriCat

      Except for the "secret" part, I agree with your prof.

  • Lost_Teabaggers

    Yeah…between the somewhat similarity between Slansky and Alinsky and the somewhat similar names Barak and Mubarak the Beck is bringin' the crazy a full 150% dose. Did anyone see Tweety Bird slap Beck's "worldwide caliphate" bullshit down? That was actually really funny…and since Dubya is officially dead to the teabaggers he can go ahead and implicate the Bush family too. What's going to be interesting is when Jebby the good one runs for Preznit, what's Beck gonna say? Oh yeah…by then wingnuts 23 minute memories will be entirely cleansed so he can beg him for blowjobs, etc.

    • lulzmonger

      Yeah, remember way back in 2010 when the Teabaggers had a hate on for Caribou Barbie because she supported that RINO islamosocialist John "Now Watch This Nose-Dive" McCain … for about 5 minutes? Good times, good times.

      FOX = cache cleaner, but more neuron-y.

  • freakishlywrong

    Ugh. The Reagan blowing is starting already on the teevee. Endless appearances of those corpses of Noonington and Buchanan. ALL WEEKEND. No teevee for me.

  • Oblios_Cap

    When the old geezer finally died, I waved at homeless people to commerate the event. Didn't like 200 members of his Administration serve jail time?

    • Come here a minute

      You misspeeled commiserate.

    • Not Elliott Abrams.

      Bush I gave him a pass, than Bush II put him in his Administration, and then the War Criminal Post gave him an op-ed this weekend to claim that what's happening in Egypt now proves that shrub was right.

      • OhNoGuy

        Yea, this whole thing is going to work out so well for Israel. THANKS, GEORGE!

    • zhubajie

      None of Shrub's cabinet are in the crowbar hotel, unfortunately. :-(

  • MildMidwesterner

    The only way to determine a fair price is to read the book and then decide what the writing was worth. Good writing is worth more than bad, but I can't really be expected to accept a blogger's endorsement. Have you read some of the drivel available on the internet these days?

    • James Michael Curley

      Does this count at 'the internet'?

    • Yeah be careful, you wouldn't want to pay anyone a couple of dollars for years of work! Just keep reading the Internet, which is "free."

      • OhNoGuy

        You're so cute when you're bitter.

  • James Michael Curley

    Don't need no book to remember the Reagan years. Just look at the scars on my wrist.

    • OneDollarJuana

      Hate to say it, but my Reagan years were pretty good. Except for having a truly shitty job early on (actually, several in a row), at least I had one, I met my wife, I moved to a decent state, I got my Master's Degree, and then a fairly decent job. What's wrong with me?

  • Lost_Teabaggers

    I think the Reagan was awesome in all ways myth acts in an inverse with the level of education in society, the only way it could keep hold. The lower educated people are, the more they buy this nonsense and the more educated they are the more they dismiss it…hence the teabaggers and academia's different stances.

  • yyyaz

    To paraphrase Vonnegut, you could carve a better man out of a balloon. Or something.

  • SorosBot

    Will Bunch's "Tear Down This Myth" is a pretty good recent history of the Reagan years.

    All the Reagan talk takes me back to being a small child, quivering under the covers, afraid that I wouldn't wake up because he'd start nuclear war overnight.

    • Tundra Grifter

      SorosBot: You beat me to it! Anyone interested in this excellent book should read:

      It's no knock on the book Ken recommends to suggest it isn't the only one – but, perhaps, like so many of us he just remembers his love as his best love…

    • Oh, good, that's on my reading list.

    • Grief_Lessons

      I was eleven when he was re-elected, and I remember crying because I was convinced he was going to start a nuclear war. I obtained my political convictions at the time from MAD magazine.

    • Eh, there were quite enough people writing angry, sincere screeds against Reagan (and Bush, and Bush Jr., etc. and etc.), and that just doesn't do anything for me. I don't need a liberal lecturing to me, for fuck's sake.

  • LeAlbatross

    Who else are the Cons going to hero-worship? Nixon? Bush? W?

    • OhNoGuy

      They try with Coolidge every so often but everyone goes to sleep.

  • Steverino247

    I remember the pain of the Reagan years well. I have no need to read a book to recall them. Forgive me if these are in the book:
    1) Before Reagan, some VA benefit applications were approved and some were denied. After Reagan took office, all were denied (including mine). The reason was that actuarial tables indicated a percentage would give up and the money would be saved for errands like Grenada and the 600 Ship Navy. I donated plasma to keep my family fed while I scraped together enough money to see an orthopaedic doctor who immediately wrote the necessary appeal letter which resulted in an award letter. (Current VA regs require the VA to use best efforts, all made necessary by Reagan.)
    2) Reagan declared that anyone leaving the military be considered as having quit their jobs and therefore not eligible for unemployment benefits. So, being rejected by the VA was made that much sweeter.
    3) Japanese-Americans interned in camps during WW II finally won a judgment against the U.S. The Reagan Administration refused to pay, because hundreds of plaintiffs died every month. They were waiting out the Grim Reaper to avoid paying. __Reagan worship is exactly the same as how the Kims are treated in North Korea.

  • OneYieldRegular

    I can never encounter a reference to "Bonfire of the Vanities" without thinking of an old New York Magazine Contest entry, in which readers were asked to submit the title of a book that combined two existing books. "Fahrenheit 451 of the Vanities" was my favorite, accompanied by the description: "An '80's yuppie is denied books. He does not object, or even notice."

  • Steverino247

    One more example, the local VA office had so many Vets coming in and threatening Reagan that the staff was on a first-name basis with the Secret Service. This, despite the large-print sign above the receptionists window that threats against the life of the President would be reported to them.

  • Steverino247

    This book is available used, so if you can't read it unless it's in your hands, check your book sites.

  • EdFlintstone

    Reagan was no doubt the godfather of modern day tea-tardia. How else can you explain someone who railed against government waste and spending, then proceded to cut taxes on the rich, increase military spending (which I'm pretty sure is government spending) which resulted in the national debt tripling in his 8 years. Ah yes government waste, like the 414 billion dollars we spent last year on just interest on the debt which is now the 5th largest part of our budget. I'm not sure how spending 400 plus billion on nothing makes sense, but hey Cheney said Reagan proved deficits dont matter. Logic has no place in Reagan's republican party.

    Case in point, republicans plan to fight unemployment by getting rid of hundreds of thousands of local, state and federal employees. It's fighting unemployment with more unemployment. Just be glad republicans aren't fire fighters of they would put your house fire out with molotov cocktails.

    • jim89048

      Most firefighters (and cops) I know are republicans.

      • OhNoGuy

        And are getting a dose of republicanism today, drink up reactionaries!

    • deanbooth

      I think it was Tip O'Neil who called the interest on the debt the greatest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in history.

    • zhubajie

      That'll probably happen, once the T-tards start scape-goating everyone else for their sufferings.

  • MiniMencken

    I remember standing on some bleachers that had gone up along Pennsylvania Avenue for the first Reagan inauguration on the day before the event. Three women in fur coats were standing nearby. One of them expressed her delight at the incoming administration by squealing "Isn't this great? Now we can get rid of the poor people and the minorities!"

    • snoopyfan2010

      Sarcasm or true story? I can't tell.

      • MiniMencken

        Sadly, an entirely true story.

        • OhNoGuy

          I remember Reganism, it was really, really white.

  • On behalf of the state of California, I would like to issue a formal apology for having inflicted this hollow-eyed, drooling, ignorant, poor-hating sack of shit on the rest of the nation. Although in our defense, it's your fault for going to see our shitty Hollywood movies and watching our valueless, mind-numbing teevee programs. However, in the interests of me keeping my job, I would ask that you please continue to do so.

    I promise we won't let some idiot like Lindsay Lohan or Stephen Baldwin or Arnold Schwarzenegger be the next celebrity-turned-poli… what? We elected him Governor?!?! When the hell did that happen? … Fuck, where was I? … Oh yeah, that was good shit.

    Yeah, sorry, America, it'll probably happen again. Our bad.

    • Reagan wasn't a Californian. He was from Illinois.

      • Come here a minute

        Well, there you go again. It was California that inflicted him on the world, like the Governator™.

        And they are also to blame for the potential Baldwinization of the Senate via NYC/30 Rock and CT.

        • predilectrix

          This "Ken Layne" needs to post more often if he wants to compete in the p-Olympics.

  • As a Young Person, I missed out on most of the '80s, and was not politically aware during the few years I did experience; I hope to learn many things about what I feel comfortable considering the worst political era for America since the Gilded Age. Thank you, Ken.

    • zhubajie

      I called it the Second Gilded Age.

  • LionelHutzEsq

    I'm sorry, but Beck's chalkboard is not available, as it is busy leading the goon squad in Egypt.

  • chascates

    Reading the free chapter online about the 80s explains why I drank so much during that time. It was a very bleary morning in America.

    As Christmas approaches, President Reagan authorizes the distribution of 30 million pounds of surplus cheese to the poor. According to a government official, the cheese is well over a year old and has reached "critical inventory situation." Translation: it's moldy.

    • UW8316154

      Ahh, goverment cheese! Now *there's* a memory for me. I was poor in the early 80's (before I started dealing to earn tuition money), and my boyfriend would go down to Pike Street in Seattle and pay $1 for a 5 pound block of cheese from junkie, and that would be our main food for a week.

      Thanks for the memories, Chascates!

  • jim89048

    Thanks for the reminder, Ken.
    Another worthy book on the subject.

  • WhatTheHeck

    And speaking of government lies, I don't suppose Reagan’s worshippers would remember Iran/Contra, or that Ollie North took one for the ol gipper.

    • MinAgain

      Or would care that Reagan fiddled while the AIDS crisis burned.

      • OhNoGuy

        Fiddled does not mean "did not give a fuck". 2 demerits.

  • snoopyfan2010

    I had a teacher who called anyone who was a child during the Reagan years a Reaganite because we were too young to know not to like him.

    • SorosBot

      Now some of us were smart enough for that.

  • dwarf74

    Attention Kindle Have-ers!

    This is an epub book, which means it doesn't work natively on your Kindle. However, it's not copy-protected or any nonsense like that, which means you can convert it to a format like .mobi, which Kindle CAN read, using a tool like calibre.

  • ttommyunger

    Oh well, the Heritage Foundation will buy a million copies, the Koch brothers will buy a million or two each, Steve Forbes will buy a million. It will be on the best seller list for a while, I guarantee. I pity the poor trees; from perfectly good wood to shit.

    • OhNoGuy

      We should encourage them to buy buy up all the e-copies so this slander does NOT SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY!!

      • ttommyunger

        No known cure for stupidity, though.

  • lulzmonger

    "Ladies & gentlemen, I have just passed legislation that will outlaw American credibility forever. We begin selling Sidewinders to Iran in five minutes."

  • aguacatero

    This book is wicked awesome.

  • ShaveTheWhales

    I'm a bit late here, but I'd just like to say

    Fuck Ronald Reagan.

    Fuck the memory of Ronald Reagan.

    Fuck anybody who thinks Ronald Reagan was in any way good for America.


    Many years ago I worked with Ron Reagan Jr. and found him to be a stand up guy. His wife, Doria, was swell too. And this was in 1983. Ron Jr was doing ballet and Doria was typing up Andy Warhol's taped interviews (I was one of three copy editors). Thos were golden days of money pouring down from the skies and the Soviets crawling into their holes. Berlin was a word that meant FREEDOM NOW instead of jelly donut. I was so proud and working for $50 a day (only two days a week though – Andy Warhol Slave Wages). But so much has changed! Now that Ron Jr has come out with the OUTRAGEOUS idea that his father was suffering from dementia WHILE IN THE WHITE HOUSE, well, holy krap. Who woudda thunk it? Bless Amerika and Our Nobel Kenyan Heritage!

  • Janinthepan

    I anxious to read about '82. That's when I was born. Oh, and I always new Reagan was a terrible president, but I never to the spectrum on stupidity and greed until reading the prologue.

  • ChuckieJesus

    A little piece of history for you on Reaganmas – how people from my neighborhood felt about The Gipper:–bd8J4


  • sezme

    Thanks, Ken. I bought the book and spent the last few days reading it. Now I can't be sure if Bush was the worst president ever… Probably, but only because Reagan planted the seed. Fuck 'em all.

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