Anyone who writes or speaks about politics (with very few exceptions) is bound to say something stupid and egregious at some point or another. You’ll definitely say something dumb if you’re one of the ambitious but dull people who actually runs for office here in the United States. The Wonkette Goofiness Machine thrives on this stuff, as does much of the political media. But Michael S. Montgomery, a former business writer for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, feels that the constant, hourly phenomenon of Conservatives Saying Dumb Things is over-reported, while the Dumb Things Liberals Say are under-documented and even suppressed by the lamestream media. To correct this natural imbalance, he’s written The Amusing and Annoying Things Liberals Say From A to Z, a sort of Media Matters for the right, in handy book form.
Montgomery is quite liberal with his definition of “liberal,” as the book’s cast of characters includes everyone from Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and Al Gore to Sally Quinn, Matt Lauer, Charlie Sheen and Cher. Oh, and Hugo Chavez (who spends 85% of his waking hours ranting against liberalismo) and famously liberal Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin.
Self-described libertarian Bill Maher gets a very, very long entry. Here’s some of it:
In 2002, Maher said, “I have hated the Church way before anyone else. I have been pounding religion on this show.” (“Politically Incorrect,” the ABC forerunner to “Real Time“)
“I hate religion,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times, as reported by DiscoverTheNetworks.Org. “I think it’s a neurological disorder.”
That IS stupid! Bill hated the Church before anyone else? Before Voltaire? Before MARTIN LUTHER, even? Haha, silly Bill Maher. What does Montgomery have to say about this?
No doubt a young Maher was burdened with guilt by the Church, an unfortunate side effect sometimes of its religious teachings. Perhaps he didn’t like the warnings of eternal life in hell.
Maher may be right in some of his beefs with the Vatican. The priest sex-abuse scandals certainly have tarnished the Church’s image. Perhaps the Vatican should ease up on preaching eternal doom to impressionable children. Perhaps the Church should modernize, such as dropping its ban against birth control.
Nonetheless, Maher shouldn’t stand out in the open during an electrical storm.
We have no idea what that means, other than that Maher has good reasons to poke fun at the Church. Your reviewer does enjoy the image of Bill Maher in an electrical storm, though, waving his bong to the sky like a modern-day Benjamin Franklin. Montgomery also criticizes Maher’s jokes and routines for being jokes and routines instead of serious political analysis, and he implies that Maher is too cowardly to make fun of Muslims, even though he regularly does just that on his HBO show.
Paul McCartney makes an appearance in Things Liberals Say. Montgomery’s section about the savage Beatle’s assault on George W. Bush is actually pretty delightful:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, this Beatle is beloved around the globe and probably far out into the cosmos. But he didn’t ingratiate himself to a lot of Americans while entertaining the Obamas in June 2010 ….
McCartney thanked the audience “and noted how nice it was to receive the award from the Library of Congress.”
In fact, the famed singer/songwriter said, after the last eight years, “It’s great to have a president who knows what library is ….”
The Beatle’s nasty dig at the previous president was especially insulting since Bush’s wife, Laura, is a librarian ….
McCartney should confine his political jabbing to his side of the pond, where the royal family certainly generates plenty of satirical fodder, did you notice?
Watch it, Paul — George W. may borrow Maxwell’s Silver Hammer …
The “Maxwell” character referenced here was a serial killer who crushed people’s skulls with a hammer, so who knows where the author is going with that.
There’s much, much more in this Damning Compendium of Liberal Idiocy. Oldie-but-goodie villains like Jane Fonda and Jimmy Carter pop up for the usual reasons (they love Communism and wanted it to defeat America in that coldest and most glorious of wars). The pop singer Madonna is condemned. At one point Montgomery alleges that, “The press reports Biden’s boners, though not with the nasty edge reserved for Republicans.”
He speculates about the existence of a “conservative blacklist” in Hollywood that might have prevented well-known environmentalist and transcendental mediation practitioner Clint Eastwood from winning an Oscar for Gran Torino (the fact that Clint has won two “Best Director” Oscars in recent years doesn’t find a place in the book). He has a good time poking fun at Al Gore’s long history of confusion and wire-crossing, which range from hilarious animal bloopers (“A zebra does not change its spots” and “We all know the leopard cannot change its stripes”) to thinking that Michael Jordan was named Michael Jackson. Silly Gore!
Speaking of the Gore dynasty, Montgomery devotes a short section to American treasure Gore Vidal:
Vidal once revealed his lack of confidence in the democratic process with this observation: “Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.” (Book of Famous Quotes)
We don’t know which essay or interview that Vidal quotation comes from (your reviewer enjoys reading Vidal a lot more than reading the Vidal section of a “Book of Famous Quotes” or some quotations website), but we find it hard to argue with the point.
The only other actual writer to appear in Things Liberals Say is the late great literary satirist Kurt Vonnegut, whom Montgomery chides for taking a dim view of the lives and “sacrifices” of soldiers, even though Vonnegut (like young patrician Vidal, incidentally) actually was a soldier and fought in World War II. Context is a fine thing, which Montgomery seems to acknowledge in his recounting of the incineration of Dresden that Vonnegut witnessed.
All of this begs the question: What is liberalism, anyway? It’s apparently a tent so big that it can hold Bill Maher’s privatization of Social Security and Charlie Sheen’s birther rants and that Hamas guy and even morning teevee host Matt Lauer.
The Amusing and Annoying Things Liberals Say From A to Z by Michael S. Montgomery, CreateSpace, 282 pages, $14.00.Related