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THE AGE OF INSURRECTION

THE RADICAL RIGHT'S ASSAULT ON AMERICAN DEMOCRACY

Politics watchers will find Neiwert’s book illuminating—and frightening.

A trenchant analysis of the many dangers of the far right.

In the days following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol—planned by “paramilitary claques who spearheaded the attack, and supported by…conspiracy theorists, Christian nationalists, and far-right street brawlers”—the GOP made noises about disavowing the insurrection and its actors. No more. As Neiwert, author of Red Pill, Blue Pill and Alt-America, writes, instead of “breaking the fever of right-wing extremism, the event ushered in “an age in which insurrection is celebrated, seditionists are defended as ‘patriots,’ and the politics of menace and violence are woven into our everyday discourse and interactions.” Fueling this are all manner of White supremacist complaints, including the fearful view that immigrants and minorities will “replace” the White majority or the “accelerationist” notion that modern civilization itself is a poison and that fascism is the antidote. Neiwert ranges widely to look at actors major and minor, from the tea party members who paved the way for the angrier, more militant radical right of the sort that we saw in Charlottesville to mouthpieces like Tucker Carlson, who “endorsed the idea that Republicans are being forced to abandon democracy and eventually embrace fascism because of liberal hegemony.” Well reported and well written, Neiwert’s book also exposes allies that one wishes the radical right didn’t have—e.g., local police departments such as those of Portland, Oregon, whose leaders saw the Proud Boys as less alien than the left-wing protestors; and even the senior echelons of the Department of Homeland Security, who exhibited “authoritarian incompetence” throughout the Trump years. As long as Trump and Trumpism are on the political stage, there will be more to come, with the Jan. 6 insurrectionists hailed as heroes and “political prisoners” and QAnon bleatings about pedophilia and evil drag queens still common coin among the retrograde set.

Politics watchers will find Neiwert’s book illuminating—and frightening.

Pub Date: June 27, 2023

ISBN: 9781685890360

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Melville House

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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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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