The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction
by Jon Stewart and The Writers of the Daily Show
Review by Lando da Pimp
I wish that my social studies text book in high school were this entertaining when I was in high school. Maybe I would have studied. Formatted as a high-school textbook, and containing countless graphs and visuals about our country's politics. The mock textbook's premise is the history and evolution of Democracy with a time line of events of its origin. All the while poking fun at everybody.
I never miss the Daily Show on Comedy Central. It is proclaimed fake news, but to me it is more of a news program that makes fun at our country's absurdities. At times I have found the Daily Show to be an entertaining way of getting the latest news. No wonder that polls a few months ago showed that more young people get their news from the Daily Show than the network news. Studies also showed that the audience of TDS was more likely to have completed four years of college and well read on current events than The O'Reilly Factor. The Daily Show is a fun, uplifting show that takes the typically redundant bad news and presents it in a humorous aspect. I don't see Ted Koppel doing that. Like the show, this book takes the ugliness of our history and spins it into a hysterical take on our countries history.
The most fascinating aspect of the book is how they nailed the look and feel of a classroom textbook. The design of the book was done by Pentagram, a great graphic design firm. At the end of each chapter is a list of discussion questions and classroom activities.
Some of the questions and activities include:
Why do you think the Framers made the Constitution so soul-crushingly boring?
If you lived in a monarchy, would you rather be the king or a slave? Why or Why Not?
Does the expression When in Rome, do as the Romans do apply to all cities, or just Rome?
Have the class perform a real-time, period-accurate reenactment of the Protestant Reformation. That should buy you plenty of time to step outside for a smoke.
Some of the topics discussed in the book include:
Ancient Rome: The First Republicans
The Founding Fathers: Young, Gifted, and White
The President: King of Democracy
The Supreme Court: 18 Legs, Four Tits, One Mission
Running for Office: What Are You Thinking?
The Media: Can It Be Stopped?
The Future of Democracy: The Constitutional Robocracy and You!
This is the Daily Show at their best. If you're a fan of the show, you will enjoy the writers' comedic jabs against our country's shortcomings. Jon Stewart makes great fun of his peers in journalism, and the lack of integrity. Samantha Bee writes a few outtakes on how Canada does things while Ed Helms' informative presentation of qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice. Included in the back of the book is current election coverage of Skull Vs. Bones; the Thrilla in Vanilla: This Time It's Presidential. This to me is the best part of the book. We get a look at each candidate including their family with the notable black sheep members. We learn that the Bush twins graduated from college and are now working on the campaign. Once it is over they are sure to be able to pick any job they want. Then there is Noelle Bush, the recovering crack addict. Ed Helms and Rob Corddry share their experiences with the candidates. A Guide for Voters provides information for people to understand the election tools while a Guide for Non-voters helps provide good excuses for not voting.
America (The Book) is the most irreverent and the freshest political book out there. The Daily Show has more liberal tendencies but no politician or ideal is spared. At a time when Republican and Democrats supporters are becoming increasingly, divided, it's good to see a book that makes fun of both liberals and conservatives inadequacies.