Author Archives: Greer Mansfield

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What Can Vaclav Havel Do For You?

And now Vaclav Havel is dead. Absurdist playwright, passionate essayist, beer connoisseur, deep thinker about humankind’s place in the cosmos, non-violent fighter for human freedom and dignity, political prisoner of his country’s totalitarian communist regime, and then the post-Velvet Revolution president of Czechoslovakia (and, after the nation split, president of the Czech Republic). What do his writings have to offer us, here in the U.S. of States, on this December day in 2011? Does a disheveled anti-authoritarian haunter-of-theaters-and-pubs have anything to teach us in Earth’s Most Exceptional Country? Let us see. Read more on What Can Vaclav Havel Do For You?…
  r.i.p.

Hitchens On Hacks

Christopher Hitchens is dead. His essays were feisty and elegant, well within the great tradition of combative English pamphleteering. He was usually provocative, often dazzling in his historical and literary allusions, and rarely boring. He only became a bore, really, in his final decade. His ironic and playful mind became (at times) monomaniacal, first about the war against the Islamo Iron Guard or whatever the term was in 2003, and then about vicious dictator “God.” Your book-reviewer met him once, and the man couldn’t have been more of a gent. Read more on Hitchens On Hacks…
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Do Novels Cause Old Person Terrorism?

A bunch of decrepit rednecks fantasizing about mass murder is a common enough occurrence in North Georgia (your Wonkette bookman knows this from lifelong experience). What’s different about the alleged plot by this AARP IRA is that they had the misfortune to run into an FBI informant who actually challenged them to put their brain-damaged program into action. Thus, a “bucket list” of gubmint/corporate/media folk to kill, plus an imaginary Knight Rider car that spits ricin all over I-85. It’s good to know that novels can still inspire people to change the world Read more on Do Novels Cause Old Person Terrorism?…
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Author Exposes U.S. Gov’t Cluelessness, Gets Persecuted by U.S. Gov’t

The U.S. State Department has been known to make noise about protecting free speech around the world. Writers and bloggers, the department says, should be allowed to publish their opinions even if they conflict with government dogma. But these freedoms are granted to humanity by the State Department under the strict condition that the people practicing the free speech live in a distant land, and that the government they annoy is just some bearded bogeyman religious regime like in Iran, or an inscrutable oligarchy like in China. Tell uncomfortable truths about U.S. policy, or so much as mention “Wikileaks,” and the American Authorities will hound you like a furious baboon (a furious baboon-hound, we mean). Hence the current jihad against Peter Van Buren’s We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. We have read and reviewed this delightful book! Read more on Author Exposes U.S. Gov’t Cluelessness, Gets Persecuted by U.S. Gov’t…
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Remembering America’s ‘Remembering 9/11′ Columns

Just one day over a decade ago, 9/11 changed everything. It did. But we got through it, because after all are we not Americans — that’s what we do, “get through” a constant sewage stream of economic and moral disasters. It was 10 years ago. Certain authors remember it well. “9/11,” they say, sitting down to tap out think pieces about that fateful day, “I remember it well. It changed everything. But is not America still, after all, America?” Let’s skim through some of these poignant “remembering 9/11” columns and incisive “how has this horrible decade affected Things on Earth?” essays, and compare and contrast, as a terrible beauty is born. Read more on Remembering America’s ‘Remembering 9/11′ Columns…
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Why Must Barack Obama Have His Own Taste in Books?

What does one say when confronted with a president who reads books while he’s on vacation? Surely something like “Why must you, President Smarty Pants, follow your interests when the time comes to select reading material? Why can’t you read something I would like to read? Why aren’t you me? After all, I am secretly a very important man/woman.” At least that’s what we should think, according to various opinion pieces recently posted on the wretched Internet. Read more on Why Must Barack Obama Have His Own Taste in Books?…
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A Wonkette Guide To Political Summer Reading (Ha, Not Really!)

It’s been a while since the last installment of Wonkette World o’ Books, and heavens how the world has changed since that time of economic chaos and meaningless violence here and abroad. Oh, we’re kidding, for there is nothing new under the sun (which is known to feast on human hearts). But as a blind Argentinian (not Diego Maradona, that’s more like a blinG Argentinian, ho ho!) once wrote, “The world is inexhaustible.” In that spirit, let’s take some quick looks at a few books. In nooks, with cooks. Read more on A Wonkette Guide To Political Summer Reading (Ha, Not Really!)…
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Q & A With Ken Layne On His Book ‘Dignity’

Yes, the headline is correct: Wonkette editor-in-chief Ken Layne has finally published his second novel. He has also spoken about it with your book reviewer, via Gmail chat. Oh, and Layne is making good on his vow to leave his typing desk at Wonkette again, which will be the third time in five years. What is this book about? What is happening with your Wonkette? Presumably, you all have a lot of questions about this. I certainly did, and they’re answered after the jump. PLUS, stuff about Bob Dylan and The Lorax! Read more on Q & A With Ken Layne On His Book ‘Dignity’…
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Remembering the Life and Letters of Osama Bin Laden, Dead Person

Angsty rich kid Osama bin Laden could have been just another Saudi playboy, loitering his days away trading oil and chasing Lebanese models. But he just HAD to rebel against his wealthy family and their friends in the Saudi royal family, forever proving that he’s His Own Person or something. And so he embraced the counterintuitive idea that the way to show solidarity with his fellow Muslims — particularly poor and oppressed ones — was to murder loads and loads of Muslims (among others). As you may have heard, last weekend he died a neighbor of our allies in the Pakistani military (but not before distributing terror rabbits to local children). Now that the world’s most iconic mass murderer is dead, it might be worth revisiting his speeches and interviews. Read more on Remembering the Life and Letters of Osama Bin Laden, Dead Person…
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American Politicians Had So Much Gross Sex Throughout History

Looking for a good read while you’re protesting the literal dissolution of your union or local death panel? You could do a lot worse than the new book from free-speech champion and Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, One Nation Under Sex: How the Private Lives of Presidents, First Ladies and Their Lovers Changed the Course of American History. It’s a free-for-all tour through sexual relations, secret fornication, national scandal, tawdry affairs and foreign entanglements (huh huh, “foreign entanglements”), from Ben Franklin to Bill Clinton. In other words: Gross old white guys doing gross things, while living off the taxpayer. Read more on American Politicians Had So Much Gross Sex Throughout History…
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Book: Charlie Sheen & Matt Lauer Are Liberals Who Say Dumb Things

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. Read more on Book: Charlie Sheen & Matt Lauer Are Liberals Who Say Dumb Things…
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Donald Trump ‘All About Quality,’ Says Donald Trump’s Book

How does thin-skinned teevee star Donald Trump spend his time when he’s not disfiguring skylines and signing prenups? As he recently told the world, he “has written many bestsellers,” so presumably he spends a fair amount of time engaged in “word usage.” We’ve conducted a literary investigation to determine what this word usage is like. Turns out Donald has written books on all kinds of subjects: a “guide” to getting rich, a treatise on golf and, best of all, a manual on how to Think BIG and Kick Ass in Business and Life. Read more on Donald Trump ‘All About Quality,’ Says Donald Trump’s Book…
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All American Politicians Love Super-Old Antichrist Book

Democrats and Republicans might be on the verge of “shutting down the government” (hooray?) due to a financial dispute, but beloved members of BOTH our nation’s dumb parties can agree, and do agree, on one thing: the Bible is totally the best book ever! Surely any political blog worth its salt should eventually review every politician’s favorite book, right? Especially since this Year of Our Lord 2011 is the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, which is more or less the Chronicles of Narnia minus the talking beaver. Read more on All American Politicians Love Super-Old Antichrist Book…
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Bill Bennett Wishes Every Day Could Be 9/11

Bill Bennett — or as he calls himself on his book jackets, “William J. Bennett”– has shown over the course of his long career that he’s mainly interested in three things: 1) holding back the tide of drug dealers eager to dine on your children; 2) reducing world literature to “And the moral of the story is…” formulas for encouraging good behavior; and 3) giving the Mooslims a good kicking. The way to give them a good kicking is through bombs and “moral clarity,” which is shorthand for “America is always right, because our noted ally God says so.” What is Dr. Bennett up to these days, book-wise? Read more on Bill Bennett Wishes Every Day Could Be 9/11…
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Gaddafi Mourns Fictional Astronaut, Writes Books

It would be a shame if the Brit-Frog-Yank bombs raining down on Libya right now destroyed any libraries or bookstores. Not because books are valuable or important (they aren’t; the Internet proves that, scientifically) but because “short story” collections written by one of humankind’s more outlandish dictators are curiosities worth preserving (unlike “books” in general). It’s one thing to blow up Gaddafi’s tanks and artillery; it’s quite another to incinerate copies of the Colonel’s collection of “stories,” Escape to Hell. Because God, what insights. Read more on Gaddafi Mourns Fictional Astronaut, Writes Books…
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Famous Slug Dick Morris Would Like You To Know Some Things

Dick Morris is impressive not because he incarnates everything disgusting and amoral about American politics (though he does do that), but because he’s proved once and for all that even a common slug can have a successful career in human political consulting. Even more impressive: he’s written tons of books, including his new call-to-arms, Revolt! How to Defeat Obama and Repeal His Socialist Programs: A Patriot’s Guide, co-written with his wife Eileen McGann (who apparently stuck around). It’s full of useful advice for the GOP, and you know what that means: toe-sucks galore! Read more on Famous Slug Dick Morris Would Like You To Know Some Things…