02 April 2011

21. America (The Book)

America (The Book: A Citizen's Guide To Democracy Inaction - Jon Stewart etal

I like Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. I don't agree with him much, but he is a funny fellow and he makes me laugh. I expected this book to be the same kind of humor as displayed on his show. It was. It cracked me up.

The book is set up as a text book. It is a spoof or parody of a high school government or civics class text. It has a zillion little charts, side-bars, graphs, explanations, expository notes, etc etc...just like all the text books have today. Many of them are just down right hilarious.

For instance, there is a full page portrait of George Washington. On the page is printed a quote. It says "Jefferson, you're on the two. Hamilton? You get the ten. I'm calling dibs on the one. That's all me, baby. What's that, Adams? You wanted the one? All right, that's it: You don't get to be on anything. That's right, I'm taking back the quarter. Anyone else want to complain? I didn't think so." George Washington, 1789 

There is a history lesson at the beginning. One part I found funny that really made me laugh out loud for quite some time and still makes me chuckle is:
"1492- In fourteen hundred ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue......and discovered America. Now, some have argued that Columbus actually discovered the West indies, or that Norsemen had discovered America centuries earlier, or that you really can't get credit for discovering a land already populated by indigenous people with a developed civilization. Those people are communists. Columbus discovered America."
HA HA HA! THAT is some funny stuff...if you like Jon Stewart humor anyway.

Now we get to the part where the colonists have declared independence and the Revolutionary War is under way. They write The Articles of Confederation. It is ratified in 1781. There is a quote in this area that is funny. It says "The Revolution is over. America has triumphed. Let us continue to solve and and all disputes by using violence." - American General Anthony Wayne at the Battle of Yorktown (1781)." That made me giggle a little until I realized that we do tend to just use violence. Argh...I hate it when I laugh at truth.

I will just type stuff I found funny or interesting now....

"Before the invention of the moral compass in 1907, Presidents had to rely on the crude and unreliable "moral sextant."

"The Oval Office. Because it has no corners, there is nowhere to make the president sit when he has shamed the nation."

"Quoting the President...On The Economy..."The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 4, 1933    "Oh, and starvation. We might all starve." - Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 4, 1933"

"Presidential Nicknames: Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon - Richard Nixon was regarded as an agile and "tricky" political opponent. Also, he was a dick."

In the section describing the American Court System, at the very bottom is Mom and Dad. "Arbiter of all curfew, allowance, and homework-completion related matters. Frequently Draconian; often arbitrary, citing legally questionable precedent of "because I said so." Jurisdiction confined to "under their roof." God, you hate them. Hate them, hate them, hate them."

"Landmark Supreme Court Cases: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954): The Court overturned the Plessy ruling, declaring the establishment of separate public schools for black and white students inherently unequal. This landmark verdict paved the way for integration, the Civil Rights Movement and the Beastie Boys." Think about it...it really did...That was funny.

"Election Day is always the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. This is because having it on the first Thursday after the second Saturday in November would be silly."

There is so much more, and a ton of it is visual. I could never explain it.

If you are a Jon Stewart fan or like the Daily Show...you will enjoy this book.

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