lies and the lying liars who tell them

i’ve been listening to al franken’s audiobook “lies and the lying liars who tell them: a fair and balanced look at the right” and it’s been pretty funny. of course, it’s by no means “fair and balanced.” he pretty much does the same thing that his opponents on the right do – take something, consider all the “facts” that support their case, and then present it as though it is the only sane way of interpreting things. as a moderate i find myself enjoying franken the same way i enjoy rush limbaugh – i laugh at what’s funny and then laugh at him when he is just being partisan and stupid. thankfully franken is funny a good bit within this book. i didn’t think that franken was very good when he was on air america radio (in fact, i quit listening to him because i thought he just wasn’t very funny) but he really was funny in this audiobook. it wasn’t as enjoyable as stephen colbert’s “i am america … and so can you” but it was still pretty good.

the most ironic thing for me within the book was the chapter in which franken tells about his visit to bob jones university. the entire visit is a farce and franken and his colleague have come up with an entire back story so as to effectively coordinate their lies concerning why they are really at bob jones university. i’m no fan of bob jones, in fact i think many of their believes have been embarrassments to my LORD, but i do think it’s pretty low to go and lie to a group just so you can make fun of their religious beliefs (even if they are misguided). i think jehovah’s witnesses and mormons are off base on their beliefs but i would never go into their churches just to make fun of them. anyhow franken ends the chapter by saying how beaten down all the lying he had done during his visit and he wondered how all the “real liars” (he means by this “republicans”) could handle doing it. i guess this is supposed to show that he’s not really on the same level with them.

even with the lying chapter it was pretty funny overall.

two other chapters stood out:

  • supply side jesus versus new testament JESUS was money. i’ll probably end up using it sometime because it was really good.
  • imho, the story of franken doing a “w” impression and “joking” that he would lose the election to barabara bush while on a place together is just plain rude. if someone, even jokingly, trashed on one of my sons in my presence i would quite possibly punch them in the face. i’m a little surprised mrs. bush didn’t.

there are a few chapters with some pretty serious language in them that i would have been very happy if he had left out. the language that is.

danger zone

since the library has reminded me that “the year of living biblically” by a.j. jacobs is due on the 22nd and they won’t let me renew it (it’s on a waiting list) i have had to swap it from the “yet to read” pile to the “currently reading” pile. this means i’ve had to stop reading “house of leaves” by mark danielewski so i can finish “the year of living biblically” (btw, brad you’re right “house of leaves” is interesting – hard to follow sometimes but interesting).

anyhow “the year of living biblically” is about a.j. jacobs’ attempt to live out literally all the rules he can find within scripture. since jacobs is a professed agnostic this makes for an interesting story. i was glad to read early on that one of the spiritual advisors he approached dealt with grace and therefore the fact that the CHRISTian faith is not about following a set of rules. still that’s not what this book is about and therefore jacobs’ is trying to live out the rules that he has found within the old and new testaments.

while i am really just starting the book i have already been struck by the following statement.

to follow the bible literally – at face value, at its word, according to its plain meaning – isn’t just a daunting proposition. it’s a dangerous one.

it just caught my attention. it should be true. i wonder how often it is.