Scott Brown
October 01, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

America (The Book)

Current Status
In Season
Warner Books

We gave it an A

Jon Stewart and his Daily Show squad free themselves from the shackles of current events to plumb the very heart of American absurdity. Their vessel, brilliantly chosen, is a mock civics textbook, detailing the country’s foibles — from its starry-eyed, slave-lovin’ beginnings to the current presidential derby — with a style that might be called Twainian, if Twain had employed colorful info-graphics, Devo references, and the word poontang. Offering insights into governance (”While anarchy can often turn a humdrum weekend into something unforgettable, eventually the mob must be kept from stealing the conch and killing Piggy”) and the AARP’s secret agenda (”That cocoon is out there in someone’s pool, and by Christ, we are going to find it!”), America (The Book) is, without a doubt, the most ecumenical, evenhanded, and hilarious political satire since The Onion’s Our Dumb Century. I’d recommend it be taught in schools, even though some teachers may feel uncomfortable contextualizing the photo of a presidential candidate tea-bagging a hooker.

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