The answer, therefore, is yes, take Colbert seriously. Like a heart attack. Or like Lenny Bruce.

I AM AMERICA (AND SO CAN YOU!)

The fabulously fatuous father of “truthiness” and other neocon mantras expands his media icon with the obligatory book—and, read in the proper spirit, it’s a lot of fun.

So do we take Colbert, of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, seriously? Is he a persona or the real thing? Is he only in it for the money? No, that would be Ann Coulter, or maybe Friedrich Nietzsche, whose autobiography contained chapter titles such as “Why I Am Such a Genius” and “Why I Am Immortal.” Colbert has a few more self-doubts than Nietzsche, if only for the sake of modesty. Would fellow blowhard Bill O’Reilly, for instance, ever confess to being frightened by baby carrots? Probably not, though, to judge by his books, O’Reilly would surely endorse Colbert’s contention that such seemingly innocent but too-cute things are a gateway drug to gayness. Stranger theories have been proposed (where is Anita Bryant when you need her?), but no satisfactory argument has been mounted against it, and in all events the critics of Colbert are only those who do not “accept Jesus as my personal editor,” namely “cable channels, the internet blogs, and the Hollywood celebritocracy, out there spewing ‘facts’ like so many locusts descending on America’s crop of ripe, tender values.” Like John Hodgman’s The Areas of My Expertise, Colbert’s litmus test of a book seems meant to be taken seriously only by those who get the joke, in which case the thing is very funny indeed. If, however, it is taken seriously to the point that the reader really starts believing that baby carrots are homoerotogenic, or that Koreans are evil, or that George Bush knows what he’s doing, then it’s time to take the book gently from that reader and commit said person to a nice quiet spell in the home for the bewildered.

The answer, therefore, is yes, take Colbert seriously. Like a heart attack. Or like Lenny Bruce.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-446-58050-2

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2007

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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