Franken exposes more than just the lies of the right-wing media and right-wing politicians. He exposes their veniality and cruelty as well. Franken shows the right for what it is -- obsessed with the desire for power and willing to use every sleazy rhetorical trick to do it.
Most of the time, Franken's prose is hilarious. The jokes tend to misfire when they are intentionally cruel and venal themselves. His arguments would have been stronger (albeit less funny) if he had avoided using the very techniques he criticizes. I'm sorry. Having one character release (fictionally) a "big, rattling fart" made me cringe. There's enough material here that flatulence jokes are unnecessary. Talk about "lowering the tone"!
Please note, however, that I gave the book a five-star rating. It's so funny in parts that i almost wrecked my car. It's so relevatory and damning that I now view the right as a real threat and not just a bunch of misguided souls. It's even inspirational enough that I just might get off my ass, get politically active, and DO something to get the right-wing out of power. Now that's a powerful book!
Many individuals believe the lies and see humor in many right wing commentators. I often fume when I catch an O'Reilly, Limbaugh and others in boldface lies in order to promote an agenda. They know the average devotee hasn't the patience, knowledge or desire to refute the lying liers. Franken had bright Harvard students at his disposal when he was a fellow at the college. Using his wit, intelligence and patriotism he has used well-researched refutations of lies and plain truth to tell "the HONEST side of the story." "Lies" is hillarious and a righteous antidote to the simplistic bombast of right wing liers. Our country needs MUCH more fine commentary like "Lies" as we enter an election year.
Let's get this straight - whether you're liberal or conservative, you've got to have a sense of humor to appreciate Al Franken. You've got to be able to appreciate when he's being sarcastic and when he's being straight. You see, in order to be "Fair & Balanced," Al has to overstate the case for the left in order to "balance" the lies he exposes of the right. Therefore, you're not going to hear a "balanced" explication of the "left," you'll hear a committed, intelligent liberal explain how life looks through the eyes of a committed, intelligent liberal, with no apologies. What you'll also get are facts - PLENTY OF THEM! Team Franken DID the research and painstakingly excoriates the lies of the right, point by point. Let me put this clearly - you will not hear the folks on the right take Franken on over his criticism of their lies, because they can't. He's nailed them dead-to-rights. You'll also get Al's fantastic reading of his own material, which is the way it ought to be received. Al sounds as if he's speaking without notes, from memory. His narration communicates more than the printed page every could, by itself.
So - listen to Al report the lies, and then YOU decide - while you're having a great time!
I never liked Al much on SNL, but he's hit his stride here: funny, articulate, well-researched, and pretty darn even-handed. BTW, for you Rush and Ann fans, the title of this review is "ironic". Being a middle-of-the-roader, fiscally/militarily conservative and socially liberal, I've listened to people from both sides, and I've grown to detest factually challenged emotional rantings and meanness posing as political discourse. Al does rant, and does get emotional on occasion, but his facts check out and, unlike Rush, he doesn't feel the need to go after someone's kid to make a point.
The book translates well to audio format, and Al's timing and delivery is superb. You don't have to agree with Al to enjoy this book, but you do have to have a sense of humor and a shred of tolerance for ideas that may differ from yours.
Funny... yes to a liberal. Political... very. Thought provoking...no. Polemical.... definitely. Fair and unbiased...not on your life. I used to be a liberal. Now, I'm not. Take for what it's worth. It will reinforce your dislike of conservatives if you are already biased.
Things I liked about this book:
-Franken had due diligence to ascertaining his facts with a team to help him. This made the book more than a rant against conservatives, and a genuine political commentary.
-With these facts he removed the facade of a lot of conservative voices.
-I also always enjoy when the author reads his/her book.
What I did not like:
-In terms of politics, it is dated. The wounds of 9/11 were still fresh, and much of the dialogue refers back to the Clinton era. Nonetheless, many of the voices he refers to (O'Riley Hannity, Coulter, Fox, Limbaugh) are still quite active.
What I found ironic:
-I think the biggest irony of this book is many of the things he blames on the Bush era seem to be repeating with a Democrat in power. 1. High unemployment 2. Rising debt 3. He faults Bush for blaming the Clinton era for 9/11 and other problems. It seems the current administration blames the Bush era for its current problems.
Because it is eight years old, not sure if I would recommend it to everyone, but it is a fairly short, informative and fun listen.
I've been a Franken fan for years. With this one (although there are many enjoyable parts) the language and irreverance got to me. Suppose one must be a little thick-skinned (and certainly leaning left) to fully appreciate his humor, but I'm not a big fan of vulgar language so I couldn't rank this one any higher than 3 stars.
This was my first audio book and I enjoyed every word. I selected it at random during as a trial and found content to be the kind of thing I enjoy - good political satire, but what impressed me most was the style of the reading. As much as I enjoy a good read, the friendly, relaxed narration by the author, and especially the unprinted comments made listening a richer experience - one I enjoyed so much I thought I might make audio books a regular habit - if I can find any more of this quality.
Apparently, unless you are a devout liberal..you are a liar! Good to know! I was unaware of how many liars we unknowingly confront every day. If you listen to this book and accept it all as fact than you will have no problem taking Michael Moore's work as Pulitzer material. We all know politicians are full of it, but I was unaware before listening to this book that all republican/conservatives were also liars. Al Franken is a very talented comedian, but he should not be so foolish as to think that most concerned citizens searching for sense in a bewildering political environment would look to him as a beacon of common sense.
Not worth your time!
There a very few of us humans who could be honest with themselves and say they have no bias -- unless they have no opinions.
Al is biased towards the left because he believes very strongly in the principals of being liberal. Coulter, O'Reilly, et al. are biased towards the right because they believe very strongly in the principals of being conservative.
This book isn't about bias -- it's about lying.
He is not trashing the right wingers for being biased -- he's trashing specific people because they LIE.
Whether you're a leftie or a rightie or you're a middle of the road extremist, you should try and judge this book for what it is.
A right wing true believer could really find something good in this book if they would just get over the problem that BOTH sides have. There is this incomprehenisble predisposition on both sides of the aisle that everyone on "your side" is good and righteous and the "others" are evil. How dumb is that?
There are honest and dishonest people on both sides. This book talks about some liars on the right side. The data in this book is very easy to validate. He did not make it up. This book tells the truth.
You may or you may not agree with Ann Coulter's opinions. You may or may not disagree with Bill O'Reilly's opinions. But it would be very hard to dispute Franken's claim that these folks lie with regularity to make their points.
Not only is lying wrong - it's also counter-productive because once you are found out it lessens your credibilty and therefore weakens your ability to persuade others that you are right.
Aside from that though this book is informative, accurate and downright hilarious.
This is a truly top-notch audio and I also couldn't agree more that this is the perfect medium for Franken's writing.