Friday, February 15, 2008

The Politics of Heaven

Book Review
Title: The Politics of Heaven—American in Fearful times
Author: Earl Shorris
Publisher: W.W. Norton and Company

A Very Very Brief Summary of the Book
Woe is us! The FDR New Deal is gone, gone, gone. The bad people have taken over America.

But who to blame? Why it's mostly the fault of all those crazy Bible-thumping fundie xtians. There are other villains too, but these are the baddest of the bad. Woe is us!

This staggering work of heartbreaking genius is a book that reaches new heights of eloquence and erudition, wherein a hardcore progressive secularist bemoans the loss of "optimism" about this-world human perfectibility. Shorris is unhappy that things aren't going his way, and consequently there is page after page of lamentations.

To convey to the readers the amorphous, all-pervasive, and hideous evilness of it all, he likes to call the bad people "the movement". That Shorris chose not to capitalize the word "movement" is a brilliant stroke of genius, for it subtly shows the reader that it's everywhere and has crept into everything. It's even tunneling beneath your house.

If this sort of stuff is up your alley, and you enjoy watching an intellectual snidely call other people whom he doesn't like names like "liar", "racist", or "closet homosexual", then you'll adore this book.

[Update, 2017 Jan 05] If Earl Shorris was unhappy back then, just imagine how unhappy he is now.