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Book Review: F.U.B.A.R. – America’s Right-Wing Nightmare by Sam Seder and Stephen Sherrill

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Air America radio’s Sam Seder, co-host with Janeane Garofalo of Majority Report, and the show’s former producer Stephen Sherrill have made the jump into print with F.U.B.A.R. – America’s Right-Wing Nightmare. There is no doubt about the subject matter therein. The authors portray a present/future world where the Rapture Right and conservative Republicans are controlling the social and economic networks. The intelligent design movement is examined, the world of the fictional “Mr. Science Guy” (imagine all scientific knowledge equivocated by intelligent design theory) has changed, and apocalyptic visions come true.

The authors examine sexual issues like the abstinence movement, birth control, and gay marriage in light of so-called family values. That puts me in mind of Republican Senator from Oklahoma James Inhofe’s claim, “I’m really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we’ve never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship.” How does he know? Does he give everyone at the family reunion a polygraph test? Do they all walk through a gaydar detector?

Charming anecdotes are sprinkled throughout, like the chapter entitled “I Hate Myself: Life as a Gay Republican.” An informative study is mentioned wherein nonhomophobic men, and homophobic men were shown heterosexual, male homosexual, and lesbian video tapes. The subjects were hooked up to a penile plethysmograph, which measures male tumescence. The 1996 study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology surprisingly revealed that homophobic men were twice as likely to be aroused by the male homosexual videos. The significance? Our authors say:

For one thing, it means it’s perfectly natural to be really, really anti-gay and yet be gay. But does it mean that all homophobes are actually gay? Yes. It does.

Sarcasm is dripping from the pages as in the chapter “So You Wanna Buy A Congressman…” Or “Heck of A Job” about the rampant cronyism in the Bush administration which gave us the likes of Michael Brown. The informative “How to Speak Religiously” chapter details the meaning of “I believe in family values.”

I don’t like to pay taxes for government services.
I’m afraid of homosexuals.
I’m afraid of black people.
I’m afraid of foreigners.
I believe Rush just had a bad back problem.
I think the fifties was the best time in U.S. history.
I’m white.

On the book jacket it is stated that coauthor Steve Sherrill once wrote for The Late Show with David Letterman and Michael Moore’s TV Nation. There are some funny bits throughout the book, but some fail to hit the mark. It’s like buying Mad magazine. Everyone has had the experience of reading through the good parts and only later going over the not-so-funny stuff. You figure you’ve paid good money so you are obligated to read everything, even if it’s mediocre. Writing humor is hard work and difficult to sustain for 200 pages.

Political leanings will most likely not be changed by this book despite chapter 21, “How To Win Friends and Convert Republicans (Or Just Convert Republicans).” As another reviewer wrote about this book, it is a case of preaching to the choir.

An amusing read for those of the southpaw persuasion. It will be rebuked by those of the Rapture Right.

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About Neal Gardner