Smart, funny and slickly designed, Colbert’s sequel to I Am America (2007) does better than similar efforts at capturing a TV comedian’s sensibility on the printed page.
It has become a cottage industry for those who have achieved mass popularity on TV to parlay that success into book-publishing endeavors. The Jon Stewart axis has done this better than most, and in the follow-up to his best-selling debut, Colbert raises the bar, with glossy pages, 3-D glasses, inventive graphics and a text filled with the blowhard, nonsense pomposity that the author both embodies and skewers. “The Real Question is: Are America’s best days behind us?” he asks. “Of course they are, and always have been. We have the greatest history in the history of History. But never forget, our best days are also ahead of us, and always will be. Because America also has the Greatest Future in the history of the Future. It’s our present that is the problem….and always is [sic] be.” On ethnic cuisine: “Honestly, I can’t tell you which Chinese dish I dislike the most: the #41 or the #16. To me, it all tastes like a steaming pile of #2. General Tso should be tried for War Crimes against my colon.” And so on. Areas covered within this manifesto of American Exceptionalism include position papers on jobs, health care, Wall Street and Easy Solutions (the main ones including “Tax cuts,” “Cutting taxes,” and “the encuttifying of our taxular system”). As for those who question America’s primacy in all areas, “Critics love to point out that the American life expectancy of 78 ranks 42nd in the world. But that’s ignoring the current Life Exchange Rate: 1 year in America is worth 10 in some foreign hellhole.” For better and worse, the book should make American readers feel proud to be Americans.
Much more than the usual bits and one-liners in book form.