Saturday, October 16, 2004

Light (headed) reading


But It's Not My Hair Posted by Hello

While cruising the library yesterday, I found this fantastic little book on the new-release shelf. Before I picked this up, I had never heard of Ben Ferguson.

Amazon.com offers 55 secondhand copies of this book, a bit odd considering it just came out in August. Either it's so good everyone who reads it is just dying to pass it on to someone else, or...hmmm....possibly it might suck...maybe? Well, I always say, decide for yourself. So I will go through it and decide for you if this book sucks horribly or merely just sucks.

First off, who is Ben Ferguson? He is a radio commentator (the host of the imaginatively titled The Ben Ferguson Show) and, at 23, is the youngest syndicated talk-radio voice in the nation. "If I'd been born eight months earlier, I'd have been a Jimmy Carter baby, and I'd really have hated that. Instead, I was born on August 28, 1981, seven months and eight days after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president." He is also, as his book flap puts it, "The voice of America's youth." And a humble one at that. Indeed, the book flap alone is a treasure trove of fun stuff:

Ben Ferguson is a conservative who is also an independent thinker unafraid to take contrary positions. In It's My America Too, the twenty-two-year-old media star [?!!] shoots from the hip and from the lip on numerous topics.

Ferguson's message is clear. He is not on a campaign to reform liberals and turn them into right-wing Republicans. He is presenting his views on American society and challenging those who do not agree with him to an open debate. Some will not agree with his political and religious views.

Gee, THAT sure makes your book stand out! Maybe that's why Publishers Weekly had this to say about Ben the Boy Wonder:

A light polemic, Ferguson's book is not closely argued; the writing is unsophisticated and the ideas are simplistic.

Awww, that's not nice! If nothing else, Fergie has the most unusual acknowledgments I've yet read. From page three (yes, he has four pages of acknowledgments alone!):

To my best girl friends: Jennifer, you are an amazing woman; to Caroline H., Molly R., Molly M., Katie B., Neely L., Kristen W., Michael A., [Michael?] Rachael T., Anna B., Emily L., and Elizabeth S. Thank you for all being examples of what a solid woman is.

That's a lot of solid women for one radio pimp. And just think, not one of these solid women bothered to tell Benny never to end a sentence with a preposition. Especially if you're going to write a book.

In subsequent chapters, we learn a little about Ferguson. Actually, quite a lot, because he really likes to talk about himself. And boy, does he have a lot to brag about!

I am lucky enough to have been raised in a quiet community in Memphis, Tennessee...For me, there's nothing more fun than going on TV and debating someone like Janeane Garofalo who thinks she's some big expert on world affairs and politics. Last I checked she was only an actress and a comedian [talk about casting stones!]...They have no background in foreign relations...

Don't you love when recent college graduates act like they know more than the average person just because they learned stuff in the classroom? How self-righteous of them! How arrogant! (I graduated in 2002.) But Ferguson is clearly nothing if not his own man, and he does things his own way and in his own style:

The second reason I am writing this book is to show people that being a conservative does not mean you are rich, old, and wear a sweater-vest.

Nope, indeed it means you can look any way you want, even if it pisses off the base! Hell, this guy's right about not worrying about taking on Republicans. Any guy who looks this much like John Hinckley definitely needs guts to be a Republican:


One worships Reagan, the other shot him Posted by Hello

He also asserts that, unlike some other Republican radio hosts, he did not get his break in radio from having a dad with a radio station. Far from it, in fact! What makes this dude special enough to have broken into radio at the tender young age of 13 is a quality rarely seen among people our age:

I got my own show because I have a perspective on my generation that is unusual among the media, and I can seriously debate on the big issues of our times. This is because I have learned to inform myself about what's going on in the world. I love newspapers, and I love history.

But enough about me! Back to Ben Ferguson, because he's the one with the book and the goddamn radio show. As for the book, I can honestly say I haven't yet gotten around to reading most of it. But then again, that never stops me in English class, so here's a quick overview of selected chapters, which should tell you all you need to know.

PART I: SON OF THE SOUTH
Why people still brag about this in 2004 is beyond my reasoning. Or reasoning, period.

Chapter 7: Gun Control Means Hitting Your Target: "The twelve victims who died that day were victims of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, not victims of guns." When notified of the difference, all of the bullet-ridden victims came back from the dead.

PART III: A POLITICAL VIRGIN
You just KNOW where this is headed...

Chapter 13: Why I'm a Virgin: I'm proud to be a virgin. I'm glad I'm a virgin. I don't even mind talking about it. [Apparently.] So maybe you wonder: Why am I a virgin? It's actually very simple. [Because you look exactly like John Hinckley?] I am a virgin because I choose to wait until I get married. [Oh.] ...I think abstinence is cool, or it should be, anyway...That's why I say to people: "Look, I'm a virgin. If you're not, great, but I am, and I'm proud of it just like you're proud of hooking up with twelve people."

Chapter 14: Give Kids the Vote: Here, Fergie is actually encouraging the lowering of the voting age to 16. BAD IDEA. Hell, in 1971 the rationale for changing the age was, "if they can be drafted, why can't they vote?" Which made sense, of course. But with a lowered voting age, the Bush administration would be all like, "Well, they can vote, why can't they be drafted? Duh!" And I'd be like, "Oh, no they di'int!"

PART IV: HEROES AND ANTIHEROES is where that well-worn line about Ferguson being unafraid to buck Republicans comes into play:

Chapter 22: Donald Rumsfeld, a Hero for Our Times
Chapter 23: Dubya, My Kind of Redneck

All right, all right, he really does buck the party line in at least two places:

Chapter 19: Newt Gingrich, Role Model--Not!
Chapter 21: What Republicans Can Learn from Bill Clinton

If you aren't just absolutely stoked to read this book by now, then there's nothing I can do for you, pilgrim. You're just too sane to be consoled.

19 comments:

Murph said...

Thanks for the Cliffs Notes on this one, Ian. I too wonder how he can thank nearly a dozen young girls who have shown him what a woman is and still claim to be a virgin. Because I know Molly R and that girl ... well I think you know where I'm going with that. Something involving the chrome on a trailer hitch.

Ian McGibboney said...

Damn, man! She did that for you too?!!

Nick said...

1. So, Icon, you're ashamed to be from the south?

2. "Don't you love when recent college graduates act like they know more than the average person just because they learned stuff in the classroom? How self-righteous of them! How arrogant!"-- Yeah, um, kind of like college professors who have been hiding in the classroom settings all their lives b/c they couldn't hack it in the business world, yet preach constantly about how horrible the economy under Bush has gotten?

3. I had to laugh about the acknowledgement where he gives shout outs to all his g/f's then proceeds to a chapter on why he is a virgin. I don't laugh at the virgin part; I actually applaud him. Yet, I see that acknowledgement in the beginning as a way to try and secure his manhood from the start. Obviously he's not really comfortable with his own decision on his sex life.

Ian McGibboney said...

1) People can't help where they're from. And I love this area to death. But I balk at Southerners that think they are somehow superior to everyone else. Southern culture is rife with racism, favoritism, fanaticism and an unnatural urge to shoot and kill stuff. Those are the things for which I don't care.

2) Not everyone dreams about being in the business world. I myself despise it with a passion. It's not as if we all tried the business world, failed, and then dipped into academia as a second-tier profession. Have you ever consdiered that some people have different goals?

As for the charge of insulation, might I remind you that no one lives in a cocoon. Professors read the same newspapers and watch the same TV news as you do. In many ways, they are more aware of most issues than the average person, in addition with a degree of education that allows them insight bereft to the rest of us. Using your logic, guys like you could never comment on education, politics or anyone else not having to do with money or consulting. But you can, and so can they. It's America.

3. I agree totally. I have nothing against virgins (I used to be one myself, in fact). What irritates me are these self-righteous virgins who parade their choice like we're all supposed to fall on our knees in awe. It's your choice. Proclaim it to your girlfriend, not the whole literate world.

Nick said...

I can't comment on education? Just about every female, and some males, in my family is a teacher. But, being ignorant like I am, I guess I shouldn't carry out my main goal, which is to go back to school in about 30 years and become a math teacher.

Liz "the Biz" said...

Priceless, yet sad. That virgin part killed me. Now, if he can get away with writing a book, certainly I can too.

Mary said...

I love how "nonvirgin" equals "Skanky McSlutbar with extra whore sauce." Do you guys all share one big penis? Is my vagina part of some sort of worldwide network (the "Labia Internets," if you will)? Because I was unaware that sleeping with one person before marriage means you've now shared your personal tartar sauce with 11 other people. I could be wrong, though. We liberals, we often are.

Ian McGibboney said...

Mary, this virgin-whore dichotomy is exactly what turns otherwise virtuous people into self-loathing and guilt-ridden ones. They're drilled so thoroughly in that virtue of purity that if they give in just once to their natural desires, they think they're scarred for life. Because of this, they'll just assume there's nothing good left in them and turn into exactly what they tried so impossibly not to be. Because they don't see that there's an in-between, see? People like that are never taught that many upon many people have thoroughly satisfying sex lives outside the context of a marriage or even a serious relationship. When they see someone like that, their first response is, "sinner!" Deep down, though, they get to realizing that maybe they themselves might be a little off in their beliefs. Thus, they define rigid meanings for virign and slut so they can be comfortable in their sexual repression.

Ian McGibboney said...

Oh, and Nick, that was exactly my point. You can comment on anything you want. Likewise, academics (such as university professors) can also do so.

thehim said...

I love this line:

"being a conservative does not mean you are rich, old, and wear a sweater-vest"

No, it just means that you're in the next generation of Americans that think they're smart because they try to agree with people that are rich, old, and wear a sweater vest.

Shannon said...

What's wrong with sweater vests?

Bob Fisher said...

Ben Ferguson is a piece of shit.

Anonymous said...

Why does everyone assume that these "girl friends" he mentions are what the rest of us would consider girlfriends. They're all probably his cousins and aunts. Who knows, they may even be 8 year olds. They probably are. Most of those assholes they catch on Dateline To Catch a Pervert are religious types anyway, aren't they?

Great hair dude! The voice of the youth!! Ha! I checked on barnes and noble and the sales rank for his book is about 700,000. Al Franken's RL is a Big Fat Turd is about 50,000 and that was written about 80 years ago!!

Anonymous said...

I love that line

"before Bill Clinton no one knew what a thong is."

Lol, I actually like panty lines ;-)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE BEN FERGIE!!! HE ROCKS MY WORLD!! AND NO WE HAVE NEVER HAD SEX.

Jack said...

This guy is considered a top young conservative? WTF?

I just caught his bit on a youtube with Paula Zahn. Is this all you guys have to offer for the future of your party? This guy has absolutely no sense of "Cause and Effect" and how it applies to the actions of the US throughout history.

Good lord, flush him down the toilet and find someone else to champion your cause.

Anonymous said...

I have seen this kid discuss the Middle East. Ignorant, doesn't listen, cannot think, his whole presentation was being a goof. The sad part is that someone actually pays him to be this way.

The Kitten said...

I just saw this kid on a debate championing Mike Huckabee's Christmas ad ... being a Mormon, I could not have been more insulted by the fact that he flat-out said that Mitt Romney deserved to be called out on his beliefs by Huckabee because Romney was "trying to be like" a Christian. I'm not a Romney supporter, but I AM a Christian, thank you very much, and I don't appreciate some kid with a comb-over who's barely a year older than I am telling me that I'm not. What a culturally-ignorant and prejudiced jerk! The face of worst brand of conservativism has not changed at all ...

Anonymous said...

He might consider himself to be a conservative christian, but I think he is a poser.Ive been propositioned by him and my teenage daughters also.He might claim to be a virgin, but purity is a whole different subject.He might not have ever had sex but its not from the lack of trying.He is creepy and girls, dont let the baby face fool you!