Once again, the author of Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations trains his subversive wit directly on the contemporary political scene, leaving the powers-that-be in tatters and his audience in hysterics. Al Franken thrives on being in the opposition, and now that the Republican party controls both the Oval Office and Congress, the gloves are off and the satire is fast and furious.
Franken's specialty is using his targets' own words to make comedic and political points. Finding logical inconsistencies, factual errors, and doublespeak wherever he looks, Franken takes on and destroys the myth of liberal bias in the media, hoists the Bush White House on its own rhetorical petard, and punctures the mean-spirited sanctimony of such media darlings as Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, and host of post-Limbaugh talk-radio gasbags. Timely, provocative, unfailingly honest, and always uproarious, Lies is sure to raise hackles and spark hilarity inside the Beltway and from sea to shining sea.
Listen to Al Franken talk about Lies on Fresh Air from September 3, 2003.
©2003 AL Franken; (P)2003 HighBridge Company
"In the kicking, spitting spirit of all-star political discourse, Al Franken gives as good as he gets." (New York Times)
"Riotous...provocative reading for everyone.... Franken's sardonic critique of our culture of political disinformation is serious business." (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
"Memo to Fox: Hire Al Franken." (Business Week)
Perry Mason Fan
How did George W. Bush defeat John McCain in the South Carolina primary? Thousands of voters received calls from an "independent polling firm" asking if they would vote for John McCain if they knew he was the father of a black child born out of wedlock. Technically, this wasn't even a lie, since John McCain and his wife adopted an orphan girl from Bangladesh and she appeared with them on the campaign trail.
In the George W. Bush acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in 2000, he said that Clinton had gutted the military so badly that if called to fight, two entire divisions would have to say "Not ready, Sir!" Yet, a year later, Bush launch a successful war in Afghanistan with that same military. As Cheney told Reagan after the first Gulf War, a president must fight wars with the military put in place by his predecessor. So Bush won the war (and the second Iraq war) with Clinton's military. Franken shows that Clinton built up the military, contrary to the falsehoods of Bush, Cheney and the radio and television generals.
"Operation Ignore" is the name Franken gives to the Bush administration?s refusal to implement General Richard Clark's program - developed in by the Clinton administration after the attack on the U.S.S. Cole - to destroy Al Queda by sending Special Forces into Afghanistan, breaking up cells, tracking down Osama's charities and other money sources and establishing a Department of Homeland Security.
As a bonus, Franken is very funny.
Oh, by the way, remember the vandalism committed by Clinton's staff before they turned over the White House to Bush? The General Accounting Office conducted a through investigation and found no evidence of any such vandalism. The Bush administration. It was artful. As Franken says, in a paraphrase of Groucho Marx, "Truth goes out the door when rumor comes innuendo."
If you read Coulter, Limbaugh, Franken, you should take a long hard look at yourself as these books are at best modestly entertaining, highly biased toward small-fact based sound-bites, and ultimately devoid of opportunities to educate yourself about complex, important, and interesting issues the world faces.
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.
A moderately un-funny and highly factually skewed work of semi-fiction. Other reviewers here cite Franken's "Havard Researchers," or "Harvard Graduate Students," which is to say that he enlisted the assistance of a bunch of spoiled college kids, whose thinking undoubtedly, ran along the same lines as his, before they ever began their "research." And, as anybody who works with "facts" and figures could tell you, information and numbers can be massaged to support just about anything you want them to support. Something that has been overlooked by most of the 5-star reviewers here is that Franken has been "called" on several of his supposed facts and assertions, and his response has been, "well, I'm a comedian, this is a satire and should be taken as such." Evidentially, some of the reviewers here don't take it that way, instead viewing it as the gospel according to Al. In summary, most, if not all of the reviewers here who rated this "book" highly, already had his/ her mind made up before he/ she ever strapped on the headphones and, to them, the REAL facts don't matter, unless those facts go to support his/ her already formulated opinion. I just think that it's a little sad that the best the left can do for a Messiah figure is a cut-rate, semi-washed-up comedian. But, if you're (far)left leaning, and in need of a little moral support, go ahead and read it - what can it hurt. Oh, and you have my sympathy.
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.
Love listening to many different Styles and types of books.
This is truely wacky stuff from a leftist (not a liberal). Don't bother!
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.
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