Today on Blogcritics
Home » Books » Book Reviews » Book Review: Terry Jones’s War on the War on Terror

Book Review: Terry Jones’s War on the War on Terror

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

There probably isn’t a middle ground on Terry Jones’s views of the “war on terror.” You either agree with him or you don’t. Yet even if you do, Terry Jones’s War on the War on Terror comes off more as toss-off than lasting political commentary.

Jones, whose biggest but not sole claim to fame is as a founding member of Monty Python, leaves no doubt where he stands. He does so using satire to tell the truth as he sees it. Jones riffs on the grammar of the war on terror, insisting that terrorism is an “abstract noun” and that you can’t wage war on a noun or know when a noun has surrendered. He is insistent that what is transpiring in Afghanistan and Iraq was foreshadowed by the Project for New American Century, that George Bush’s policies have done more to inspire terrorism than suppress it, and that Tony Blair is little more than Bush’s lap dog.

Like a Python, he is ready to assume various roles to make his points. For example, writing as the head of “The Humane Society for Putting Bags over Suspects’ Heads,” he analyzes how such a practice makes us feel better and avoids the morning newspaper spoiling our breakfast. His analysis of Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address through the eyes of a Hollywood script writer evaluating it for a blockbuster film on good guys vs. bad guys is also excellent.

Yet the latter displays some of the work’s inherent problem. Each of the 33 essays was initially published in the period from late 2001 through July 2004. Undoubtedly, part of the original power of these pieces was their topicality. Inevitably, a spoof on the 2002 State of the Union address loses some of its sting when read three years later. Moreover, as a collection of pieces written over several years, even the language can be repetitious.

Don’t get me wrong. Jones can make a page drip with pointed sarcasm and his style is such that his condemnation is more than mere ad hominem attacks. I also largely share his viewpoint. Yet when satire is repetitious and somewhat outdated, it loses its punch. Undoubtedly, each piece stood well by itself when initially published. Publishing them as a collection when they a minimum of 12 months old makes them a casualty of Jones’s war on the war on terror.

Powered by

About Tim Gebhart

Tim Gebhart is a book addict living in Sioux Falls, S.D., where he practices law to provide shelter for his family, books and dogs.
  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    While it’s true we cannot arrest a “terrorism,” we can certainly make war on terrorism by attacking terrorists, and all the agencies that support them: the regimes, groups or cults that promote terrorism, and fund those who commit acts of terror.

    Terry Jones is a funny fellow, but his sense of what war might be is firmly stuck, not in the 60s, but in the 40s. In that sense, his essays were outdated the day he wrote them.

    We ought to have learned something from the Korean and Vietnamese conflicts; one of those things is that complicit agencies need to be included on the enemies list.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “all the agencies that support them: the regimes, groups or cults that promote terrorism”

    If that’s the case, when do we head to Saudi Arabia?

  • Sean

    Comment 2 posted by El Bicho on June 24, 2005 09:07 PM:

    “all the agencies that support them: the regimes, groups or cults that promote terrorism”

    If that’s the case, when do we head to Saudi Arabia?

    How does Monday morning sound?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Works for me. Let’s send Terry Jones in first to do a bit of improv in a dress to soften them up.

    Dave

  • Nick Jones

    Dave, they already wear dresses there.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    But no one else looks quite like Terry Jones in an old house dress.

    Dave

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    True – did you see him in Egyptian kaffiyah in the series on life in Pharaonic Egypt?

  • skulz fontaine

    Critics, like any other cancer feeding on the body humane, should be quickly and surgically removed with extreme prejudice. When and oh when, does the literary world offer a ‘critical forum’ for the “critic of critics?”

  • Tim

    While it’s true we cannot arrest a “terrorism,” we can certainly make war on terrorism by attacking terrorists, and all the agencies that support them: the regimes, groups or cults that promote terrorism, and fund those who commit acts of terror….

    Can others attack whom they feel are terrorists or is it just you who gets to decide.
    After all, America has threatened to bomb another country if they don’t do what America wants. Isn’t that the very definition of terrorism?
    Sanctions killed over half a million in Iraq. It was stated that this was to cause so much problems for the Iraqis that they would rise up and overthrow Saddam. Is that not terrorism, sanctions that kill hundreds of thousands to affect political change?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    @ # 4, 5, 6:

    The hell with Terry in a dress. Let’s send him in as the naked organist and scare the crap out of them.

  • Bill Jones

    The biggest, most active terrorist organizations in the world, are, of course the U.S., Israeli and U.K. governments.

  • Dan

    “We ought to have learned something from the Korean and Vietnamese conflicts; one of those things is that complicit agencies need to be included on the enemies list.”

    The thing to learn from the Korean and Vietnamese conflicts is that America can’t win guerilla wars. And if you’re going to go after agencies that support terrorism, hit the CIA first.

    Suuuure, you can fight terrorism. Just look at how well you’re doing now.

  • Fish Slapping Dancer

    Everyone seems to be commenting like there are real terrorists out there and they are not us.

    I guess Fox News hasn’t declared war on “The War on Terror”TM yet.