Lying Media Bastards

June 14, 2005

Jake Reviews Stuff

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Stuff I’ve absorbed lately. I should do more of this, I work at a library for god’s sake.

Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches from the Dumb Season by Matt Taibbi

Go read this now.

I am thrilled by this book, and that’s not a word I ever use. Matt Taibbi is the scathing, far-left columnist of the NY Press who’s articles have been linked to from this site many a time. Frankly, I’m jealous of his ability to be furious and hilarious simultaneously. He just pulls it off better than I do.

The book is an odd mix of Taibbi’s rants about politics and journalism and a visceral diary of his experience covering the 2004 election campaign. My only regret is that some of his latter experiences are somewhat reminiscent of those of Hunter Thompson, which might lead some folks to write Taibbi off as a Hunter wannabe or as Dr. Gonzo-lite.

Long story short, Taibbi sees the American electoral system as a complete farce which papers over the nation’s very real and tangible blights. He therefore gives the campaign and its candidates the respect they deserve: none. He also analyzes and vents his justified disgust at the journalists who refuse to see the obvious truth and play along with the theatrics.
I’m gonna do my damndest to get Taibbi on my radio show soon.

Sorry, I’m gushing. Actually, I’m only halfway through this book, and I guess the second half could still suck.

Oh, and the illustrations are done by our pal David Rees, AKA the guy who does Get Your War On.

Wallbangin’: Graffitti and Gangs in L.A. by Susan A. Phillips.

Although it claims to be focused on graffitti, this book is predominantly an anthropological look at both latino and African-American gang life in Los Angeles. A white, middle class researcher managed to win the trust of gang members in LA, and in her search to understand graffitti comes up with a look at the gangsters themselves, to explain their world to us other white middle class folks. Also, it turns out that gang graffitti is amazingly complicated.

Interestingly, a person who had checked this out from the library before me had tagged up the graffitti photos in the book with their own graffitti, in a very similar style, using ballpoint pen.

The O’Franken Factor Factor: The Very Best of the O’Franken Factor by Al Franken and Katherine Lanpher

Shockingly unfunny. Al Franken had been doing this show three hours a day, five times a week, for over a year when this CD was released, and he can’t find 60 funny minutes? I like Al Franken, but I only found two funny moments on this CD, and one of them was a skit making fun of his own ego.

Coming up on Jake’s review docket (AKA stuff Jake has to read)
Diet for a Dead Planet
Don’t Eat This Book
Our Enemies In Blue
Recipes for Disaster
Batman Begins

Posted by Jake on June 14, 2005 11:19 pm

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