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.