Sunday, July 6, 2014

"I can read or I can drink: Matt Taibbi makes the choice for me."

Amazon published my review today, The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion 

When I took the book out of its packaging and looked at the covers, the words "hilarious" and "funny" jumped out at me like a mugger in an alley. Perfect, I thought, I'm ready for some light reading. Maybe, but I won't get it with this book. Taibbi's writing is brilliant, of course, it might even exceed the political commentary of Hunter S. Thompson. But the sheer scope of Taibbi's investigative talent can be overlooked in this book by the string of stinging sarcasm, cynicism and hip-hop nihilism that run throughout the pages of the book, which give it those "hilarious" moments.

Taibbi is so good as a writer, he can convey a lot of information crammed into a small space. In this case, with just a few words, he tells a complete story. He provokes you to think and feel and ask questions. When I put the book down after reading for an hour or so I felt like a guy at a neighborhood bar who very quickly drinks six or seven shots of tequila, one after the other, and leaves the bar without realizing that he's too drunk to walk down the street! That's what reading this book was like for me.

But to be fair, Taibbi's book changed my life, actually, by helping to relieve some deep rooted stress I didn't even know I had. Upon completion of the book, a profound serenity of resignation and acceptance came upon me like an answer to prayer from those tongue-talking, Bible thumping, Christian Zionist followers of Texas John Hagee that Taibbi writes about. As if in a vision of cosmic conception, I could see the interrelatedness of all living things as I grasped the futility of struggling with people over narrow-minded ideologies that made absolutely no sense to anyone and which make no difference whatsoever.

I finished the book, happy that I had gotten to the end of it with my sanity intact, if not somewhat confronted. This is far more suitable for me than letting my radicalization burn out the synapses in my brain. So I'm left with a choice: I can continue to read Taibbi from time to time, or I can drink shots of tequila all at once. With Matt, I can live to read another day, but if I go with the tequila, I may not live through another day. The choice is easy.

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