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Jeff's Gameblog
Wednesday, 14 July 2004

Topic: Books
Last night after Elizabeth went to bed I finished reading Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars who Lie While Lying Down or whatever it's called. Good read. Very funny. Also very, very partisan but in an amusingly unabashed way in most passages. In the interest of fairness I tried checking out www.frankenlies.com for some perspective on the work. Surprisingly, I had trouble finding real substantive gripes about the factual assertions that Franken makes. I really expected there to be more oomph to frankenlies.com. To be fair, maybe I just clicked on the wrong articles. I didn't feel like reading the whole thing.

Since I enjoyed Lies I decided to try the other Franken book my wife owns, Rush Limbaugh is a Big Poopy Head. Okay, that's not actually the exact title, but you know what I mean. Another good book so far, though the writing isn't quite as tight as in Lies. Here's my favorite passage so far:

You know what I dislike most about these guys? They're always so certain. They're always 100 percent sure of what they're saying. Even if it's wrong. It must be a great feeling for a guy like Rush Limbaugh. To be able to sit there and say, "There are more Indians alive today than when Columbus landed," and really believe it.

This is why I like being a Democrat. When we see a complicated, semmingly intractable problem, we have the only really genuine, authentic human reaction you can have: we're confused.

Fortunately, I believe that "confused" is a majority position in this country.

Certainly Mr. Franken is oversimplifying. I can find plenty of people on the left who think they know what they're talking about. Still, the right drives me nuts with this sort of stuff.

But I think he hit on something crucial in American politics. Ordinary folks are intimidated when they encounter the confusion surrounding the big problems in the world. Some guy who steps up and confidently says "here are the answers" will do a lot better than an honest man who shakes his head and mutters "this is awful mess, but we'll get through it as best as we can." I know I would rather vote for a genuine Shell Answer Man than the other guy, but we as a country need to stop being taken in by the easy answers. We're the greatest nation on Earth, for crying out loud. When did that mean life would be easy?

"With great power comes great responsibility."

Posted by jrients at 12:00 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 July 2004 12:15 PM CDT

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