Wednesday, January 19, 2005


One of my birthday gifts was “America (the Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction,” the mock textbook by “The Daily Show” and Jon Stewart, and it’s a good gift — one of those humor books for which you laugh aloud even when other people aren’t in the room. And, just like the show, it is full of instructive irony and, occasionally, enjoyably instructive straightforward truth.

The passage below is the introduction to the chapter on the media, and shows the writers’ usual impressive ability to say what’s needed with stunning pungency through subversive pleasure.

The media: Democracy’s guardian angel

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy. It serves to inform the voting public on matters relevant to its well-being. Why they’ve stopped doing that is a mystery. I mean, 300 camera crews outside a courthouse to see what Kobe Bryant is wearing when the judge sets his hearing date, while false information used to send our country to war goes unchecked? What the fuck happened? These spineless cowards in the press have finally gone too far. They have violated a trust. “Was the president successful in convincingly the country?” Who gives a shit? Why not tell us if what he said was
true? And the excuses. My God, the excuses! “Hey, we just give the people what they want.” “What can we do, this administration is secretive.” “But the last season of Friends really is news.” The unmitigated gall of these weak-willed ... You’re supposed to be helping us, you indecent piles of shit! I ... fuck it. Just fuck it ...

On the next page, the chapter starts over — with an editor’s note apologizing for the meltdown.

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