I AM AMERICA (AND SO CAN YOU!)

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

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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2007

Categories:

NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

Categories:

TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

Categories:
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