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THE KIDS ARE ALL LEFT

HOW YOUNG VOTERS WILL UNITE AMERICA

Cautious hope for democracy's future.

A political analyst asserts that younger voters can sway the next election.

Faris, a political science professor, mounts a convincing and rousing argument about the influence of voters in their 20s and 30s to shape a progressive political agenda for the nation. These younger voters, he writes, form a powerful threat to the Republican Party, which increasingly leans heavily on “male, religious, white, and older” voters and which has been “systematically repulsing and alienating” a new demographic: millennials and Generation Z. More diverse, more educated, and less religious than previous generations, this cohort holds progressive views on a variety of issues, including climate change, economic inequality, racial justice, and gun control. Moreover, they are revolted by “the unseemly antics, misogynist ravings, and racist policies of today’s Republican Party.” Faris marshals considerable evidence—laid out in tables and graphs—to support his assertion that identifying as Democrats is nothing new among young voters, who have been “marching left for twenty years.” Contrary to common belief, young liberals don’t morph into older conservatives. Instead, Faris finds that voting affiliation is set in early adulthood and persists throughout a person’s life. He focuses some attention on the “brash, telegenic” provocateurs “intoxicated on the dizzying combination of hyper-partisanship and grifter-doofus scamming that characterizes the thought leaders of the young right.” Although these outspoken conservatives are not representative of their cohort, they do find outlets—Fox News, for example—to noisily disseminate their views. Polarization, Faris speculates, will end “when one side wins a series of decisive national victories, forces people to evacuate from the losing party and convinces those who remain to change that party’s trajectory.” A high voter turnout and a unified Democratic Party may portend that decisive victory in 2020, but a fractured left, warns the author, would lose to a hard-right GOP.

Cautious hope for democracy's future.

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61219-821-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Melville House

Review Posted Online: April 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

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Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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