Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Truth
by Al Franken

Pounded through The Truth in the last couple days. Al Franken is a national treasure. I honestly hope he never runs for office because he's much more useful as a pundit. Anyone who can communicate like he can needs to keep doing it. Someday he will have a statue or two raised in his honor, and it's my fervent hope that they make him look tall.

As the title implies, this is the sequel to his historical take-down of the wingnut movement ( ... "movement" ... yeah, that has a nice fecal ring to it), Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Even though this is as good, it has the feel of anticlimax because of course we're living in the second term of Turd Blossom's puppet. Yes, we have the comfort of the indictments finally rolling in, but we all know that even though maybe one or two of these crooks will go to Martha Stewart prison, it will not change the administration. We even have the ignored-by-the-mainstream-media fact that the last election was stolen, too. We are stuck until the next election.

Still, it's good having down on paper all the mind-boggling and mind-numbing corruption and abuse that is the current Republican regime. I finally feel sorry for moderate Republicans. Being a Christian and having to live with the animosity stirred up by fundies, it must be galling to be an honest, decent Republican (yes, dear reader, they do exist) in this age.

Franken is a superior humorist, so regardless of his topic, he's a fun read. I recommend this to everyone. I would especially love a few wingnuts to read this, though I know I'm essentially wishing the moon were cheese. A few times I would laugh out loud while reading, so heads would swivel to see what I was reading, and thus the instant litmus test would ensue. Moderates and liberals would smile and nod when they saw the cover, wingnuts would frown and look at me as though they were memorizing my face so I could be one of the first ones up against the wall when the revolution comes. I take comfort in the fact that I'll be standing next to the likes of Al Franken the Dixie Chicks (I think Emily Robison, the tall one, is freakin' hot!). We'll have songs and laughter before the bullets fly.

I especially like the light touch he has with religion. He's essentially a Deist (def: there's something bigger than us out there, I just don't know what it is) by way of Judaism, with a dash of Minnesota polite thrown in. His stories about his experiences with religion, and this recent post by Sharon on church music, brought to mind an experience of mine. We haven't had a Third Level Digression in a while, so here goes:

TLD: When my wife and I first moved to our new town, we went church shopping because our old church was now over an hour and a half away. There is a Presbyterian church just a few blocks away, so that seemed the natural choice. We attended the all-important Easter service as our introduction.

When we entered the vestibule, we saw a big box of rocks with a sign that said "Take One." I shot an "uh-oh" look at my wife; she shrugged and picked up a rock. So we sat down and started trying to busy our first daughter, who was three at the time (I think), part of which included explaining why she couldn't have a rock. The pastor got up to deliver his sermon and its message was, and I paraphrase: "Sometimes in life we get bogged down by troubles, so I want you to imagine all of your troubles going into this rock, take it home with you, and then toss it away somewhere as a symbolic gesture of laying your troubles down."

I imagine the look on my face was something close to this:

This was Easter freakin' Sunday. If we were to hear anything about rocks, it should be about Jesus rolling one back to emerge triumphant into everlasting life. But no, we were supposed to project our troubles into a piece of landscaping material (not even bringing into consideration that viewing inanimate objects as receptacles of anything living was spelled out pretty clearly as a big no-no several places in the Bible). If I want squishy, feel-good pop psychology, I tune into PBS during a pledge drive. My Easter service had better come with a big helping of steaming Jesus, maybe with some shocked apostles on the side. I'm not even sure if Christ was mentioned even in passing...

Anyway, about the only thing I admire about that sermon was the fact that he had the stones (heh heh) to give everyone a rock and then deliver a sermon like that on Easter Sunday. Perhaps I can take solace in the fact that it turned into an unintended lesson on resisting temptation. (And 20/20 hindsight, maybe I should've given my daughter a rock after all. You can at least plead innocence when a baby chucks a rock at someone.) The only thing that would have made the experience complete would have been if one of the songs we sang were Dylan's "Everybody must get STONED!" (aka "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"). Mwaharhar.

Anyway, Franken rocks. Check out The Truth.


sophia said...

I'm always a little surprised at how strongly I can agree and disagree with someone within the same article. "My Easter service had better come with a big helping of steaming Jesus, maybe with some shocked apostles on the side", made me chuckle and I fully agree. Taking comfort in the fact that you'll be standing next to the likes of Al Franken and the Dixie Chicks...I couldn't disagree with you more! I don't like sarcasm too much so I don't know if I could stomach Franken's book....

Yahmdallah said...


Thanks for the comments.

If Franken was just all sarcasm, I would find it thin, too. I think he's better than that.

I suggest you go read the first chapter of one of those two books without committing, say standing in a bookstore, or sitting at a library. If he doesn't hook ya, by all means, put the book down.