Saturday, October 16, 2004
Light (headed) reading
But It's Not My Hair
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
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.