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100 People Who Are Screwing Up America: (and Al Franken Is #37) Paperback – May 23 2006
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“Entertaining.” (Buffalo News)
About the Author
Bernard Goldberg is the number one New York Times bestselling author of Bias, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, and Arrogance. He has won eight Emmy Awards for his work at CBS News and at HBO, where he now reports for the acclaimed program Real Sports. In 2006 he won the Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award, the most prestigious of all broadcast journalism awards.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
How serious can you take a book written in 2005 that purports to list the 100 people screwing up America but does not include even one conservative, one Republican or one white, fundamentalist Christian leader. That's right. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Robertson, Falwell and the rest are not on the list. If they are mentioned at all, it is only in terms of how the 'truly evil' people on the list are unfairly opposed to them and speak out against them. If Goldberg had his way, anyone with the audacity to oppose America policy, foreign or domestic, suggest that white Christian ethics (whatever that means) is not the one and only way to think or to challenge the office of the president at any level or on any policy would be shipped out of the country without having time to pack their bags. He makes the claim several times that only the conservative, Republicans are devoid of racial prejudice. He seems to mean every single one of them. By contrast, every single black leader and liberal proponent is a raging bigot. The saddest part of this book is that it was written before Obama gained national prominence. I think he easily would have claimed the number one position. The challenge in listening to this book is ' listening to this book'. I made it all the way through but not without effort. Some of the people he cites have done some bad things and it is not so much their inclusion that one objects to but the omission of those on the ideological 'other side'.Read more ›
The book is an addictive read that inspires emotions ranging from incredulity, shock and amusement to disgust, revulsion and sadness at the plight of the victims. Fortunately Goldberg's witty observations mostly succeed in serving as antidote to the disturbing revelations.
The author identifies the problem in the introduction: society has become indiscriminately tolerant of bad behaviour. The pendulum has swung from judgmentalism to the unquestioned acceptance of the vulgar, the nasty and the downright evil. Most decent people seem to be too intimidated to complain or resist.
In the introductory chapters, the types of characters that make up the list are discussed by category. These comprise America Bashers, Hollywood Blowhards, TV Schlockmeisters, News Division Schlockmeisters, Rap Musicians, Trial Lawyers, Multicultural Relativists, Racial Enforcers, White Collar Thugs, Sex Warriors and Radicals writers.
Some entries on the list are dismissed with a single word (Courtney Love) or a sentence (Michael Jackson), whilst others comprise up to five pages. Certain entries are titled by characterization instead of name, like The Dumb Celebrity (Cameron Diaz), The Vicious Celebrity (Alec Baldwin), and the Dumb And Vicious Celebrity (Linda Ronstadt). Malignant narcissism seems to the problem in many cases.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"right-winger" making a list of 100 Liberals and trashing
them. Actually, it's not, despite the criticism of the
four guests on CNN who attacked Bernie Goldberg, without,
admittedly, even reading the book.
Even though there are the usual liberal suspects on this
list, such as George Soros, Paul Begala, and Howard Dean,
trashing liberals is not really the point of the book.
What Bernie Goldberg does in this book is to cite a number
of TRENDS in America that are ruining our society, and naming
a number of people who exemplify or encourage those trends.
His first several chapters are commentary about those trends.
For example, he cites the destruction of trust in one another
caused by our fear of lawyers, he cites how television
executives are filling the airwaves with a lot of trash
simply because of ratings, and he cites how the gangsta rap
craze is sending horribly destructive messages to our youth.
Then, in his list, he chooses a number of people who exemplify
some of these bad trends. What is MOST INTERESTING is the
number of people who are not all that famous, but many whom
you will recognize once they are described to you.
Here are a few examples...
...that idiot you'd see on late night TV, who wears the green
suit with the question marks all over it. He exemplifies the
idea that the way you get rich is to get "free money", and that
our tax dollars are that "free money".
...a woman, who finding out she was pregnant with triplets,
had two aborted, claiming that if she had to take care of
all three, she'd "have to shop at Costco".
...the former California congressman who was the major
catalyst for the "self-esteem" movement in secondary
education, the result being that our children score well
behind other countries in math and science, but rank
the highest in "self-confidence".
...the congresswoman who came to the defense of a convicted
murderer, as exemplifying the trend of defending the rights
of criminals rather than the victims.
In short, this book is so interesting that I believe if a
person enters into it with an open mind, it will be very
hard to put down. Also, despite its reputation as "right-wing"
and "liberal bashing", it really is not. I recommend this
book for EVERYBODY, and if I could give it SIX STARS, I would.
Lastly, you guessed who he lists as Number One.
Unfortunately, the title makes the book sound more authoritative than it was meant to be. Goldberg does state in the introduction than he didn't take any surveys when he came up with the list, it's his list based on his opinions and he expects people will disagree with him on his choices and reasoning.
The first section of the book is a commentary on popular culture and things about it that are out of whack. Being popular does not automatically make a person wise, intelligent or informed, and I agree with Goldberg in my dislike of celebrities who feel entitled to make political comments every time someone acknowledges their existence. I also agree with him that managers & CEOs who make power & money their main concerns are pretty disgusting, as are supposedly serious news programs that prostitute themselves for ratings. But I also feel that there are a lot of other people to blame for some of these problems, like the congressmen & reporters who are so thrilled to meet a celebrity that they'll accept anything the celebrity says like it was gospel truth; or the parents who let their kids listen to gangster rap & watch foul-mouthed sitcoms and movies, and then can't figure out why their kids are so foul-mouthed and gutter-minded themselves. I do wish that Goldberg had made some comments about those types of enablers, as well as the offenders.
The Top 100 list, which takes up the majority of the book (246 pages out of 305), consists of short essays on people that set Goldberg's teeth on edge. I agree with many of his choices, although not all of them, and there are other people I wish he had included. Many of his targets are well-known liberals, such as Michael Moore & Al Franken. (And in the cases of both Michael Moore & Al Franken, Goldberg's chapters on them could have used more substance.)
But Goldberg also discusses people who operate behind the scenes in ways that should get a little more attention. And a lot of his choices are individuals who are symbolic of whole movements. For example, Susan Beresford is the president of the Ford Foundation and is #41 on the list. According to Goldberg, if a university wants a Ford Foundation grant (and with $11 billion, the Ford Foundation has a lot of money to grant), the grant application must include figures on how many women & minorities will be involved in the project. Honestly, what business is this of the Ford Foundation's? The validity of an idea or the quality of the research into that idea aren't dependent on the demographics of the researchers, so why should the number of women or minorities on a project make it inherently more or less deserving of funding? (And if Goldberg wants to single Bersford out as an example of charitable foundations who state they are non-partisan but seem to be awfully pushy & nosy for non-partisans, then Goldberg gets to do that because it's his list!)
Another example is Todd Goldman, #97, who was the creator of a line of T-shirts with logos such as "Boys Are Stupid. Throw Rock At Them!" and "Boys Are Smelly . . . Kick Them In The Belly!" Yes, the girls who buy these shirts, the parents who don't point out how disgusting the shirts are, and the whole gender feminist movement who pushes the message that men are inherently deserving of punishment for no other reason than their gender, ALL of those people need to be in this book as much as Todd Goldman. But, like Goldberg, I was disgusted by those shirts and I'm glad he pointed out whose stupid idea they were.
Goldberg has a fairly light writing style, and most of the chapters are pretty short, so it's a pretty quick book to read. I am irritated that the book did not include a table of contents, bibliography, or index. Between those deficiencies and the really interesting & informative writing, I want to give the book 3.6 or 3.8 stars out of five, but since I can't give incremental ratings I'll give it four stars, since it definitely deserves more than three.
1. The book won't change anyone's mind. However you feel about Goldberg and his opinions going in, is how you will going out. Goldberg writes entertainingly, but he's not writing a way that will change anyone's mind.
2. The book will age and become a "period" piece fairly quickly. "Hardball" will be around for a long time. This book will age right into near irrelevance in about 2 years.
3. The book is indeed a bit "biased". Goldberg is upfront about what he thinks, and says so - this is ~his~ list and he doesn't expect you to agree with it. Even so, there are a whole lot of Left Wingers here, so many that it gets a bit repetitive. Yeah, he nails Savage, Lay and Koslowski, but there are a lot more Right Wing types that deserve some attention, and some just plain no-goods that are apolitical that deserve mention.
4. You leave the book feeling angry. If you're a Conservative or Right leaning moderate, you're infuriated about what Goldberg has said. If you're a Liberal or a left leaning moderate, you're steaming about how Goldberg could be "so wrong". What you don't get is a useful long term perspective on the "culture wars", or any memorable thoughts on how the rift of opinions can be broached.
So, while I would have to say I agree with a lot of Goldberg's judgements and can understand his viewpoints, I feel the way he approached it was wrong. It seems like this was a fairly easy book to write - pick 100 people you don't like and harangue them in print, then await money to roll in. More time, more depth and more perspective would have made for a more satisfying read, and a longer "shelf life".
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