A goofy guide to our planet, with literate ironist Stewart (America: The Book, 2004) at the helm.
Continuing in the vein of America, but with a touch more detail in both words and images, Stewart and his Daily Show comrades posit that someday soon the ETs we’ve been hailing for all these decades will arrive—only to find us gone. And why would we not be here? Well, Stewart relegates the possible answers to an appendix that opens, “At some point between the time this was written and the time you are reading it, we perished.” Some of those possibilities include ecological catastrophe, nuclear holocaust, disease, robot rebellion and rapture—the last with a generous 30:1 chance of occurring, and evidenced by an “overall ‘Jesus-y’ feeling in the air.” To gauge by the rest of the book, however, the end may well come by dint of our soufflé-like culture’s having finally become too airy and collapsed. So it is that Earth is studded with images of all those pop-culture and media figures that one would gladly leave the planet to escape, from Bernie Madoff to Nicole Kidman and J-Lo (or, if not J-Lo, a convincing simulacrum). Stewart lampoons with a broad brush rather than the scalpel with which he dissects pomposity and prevarication on his Comedy Central show. Some of his targets include creationists and school boards, fast-food restaurants, obesity, the medical bureaucracy, the Venus of Willendorf and, not connected to the aforementioned Venus, the use of the brassiere as an instrument of social control. George Bush doesn’t escape, of course; but then, neither does Florence Henderson.
The legions of readers of America will know exactly what they’re in for—and readers of whatever stripe, save those who are fans of McDonald’s and Satan, are likely to enjoy this one.