Barry Eisler

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Great American Hypocrites

I just finished reading my advance copy of Glenn Greenwald's outstanding book, Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics. It's the best book I've read on how the media works since Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.

In some ways, I think Glenn's book is a more important read for conservatives than it is for liberals -- at least for conservatives, like yours truly, who put principle before party. If you want to understand how politics and the media work today, how the Republican party has betrayed the principles it purports to defend, and how opinion is manipulated by appeals to fear, prejudice, and other irrational emotions, Great American Hypocrites is indispensable.

Glenn discusses the book on his blog here. It's available for online ordering today and will be released on April 15. Give it a try -- you won't be able to put it down, and you'll never read the paper or watch the news the same way after.

-- Barry
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Blogger Joshua James said...

Glenn's great, I've been following his blog for quite some time . . . I thought his takedown of Joe Klein via the FISA mess was worthy of a Pulizter in terms of reporting . . .

Do you truly consider yourself a conservative, Barry? I mean, we have to truly redefine the word these days, don't you think? Because you're not in favor of prayer in school and Intelligent Design and . . . well, you know what I'm saying, right?

Sunday, April 06, 2008 8:30:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

Agreed on Klein and FISA, Joshua, and that's a fair question about how to describe my politics. For shorthand, I'd call myself libertarian. At this point, that renders me less comfortable with what the Republicans have become than it does with the Democrats. Republicans have so perverted the term "conservative" (borrow and spend and record breaking deficits is conservative? Iraq is conservative? Terry Shiavo is conservative?) that you're right, maybe I should let it go and find some other way to describe myself.

-- Barry

Sunday, April 06, 2008 8:47:00 AM  
Blogger Joshua James said...

One could make almost that argument about the word "liberal" as well . . . I guess I've identified myself as a "progressive" rather than liberal for a long time due to a similar situation . . . I think there needs to be a party for people whose primary goal is that government should work and work efficiently, heh-heh.

Sunday, April 06, 2008 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Ann Voss Peterson said...

Thanks for the recommendation. Have you read Thom Hartman's book, Cracking the Code? Since your blog is about politics and language, you might find it interesting.

Monday, April 07, 2008 7:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joshua, I'd have to disagree with you on that Liberal thing. Government did work quite well under Democratic (Liberal) control for many years. The problems came with Reagan and his so called Conservatives. Up until Reagan the country had amassed, since its inception, 1+ Trillion dollars in dept. Reagan tripled that, George Bush senior added and Dubya doubled that. These three "Conservatives" administrations have added 70% of all the debt this country has incurred in its entire history.

Conservatives destroyed the conservative label, by abandoning their principles. Liberals did not tarnish the Liberal label by abandoning theirs. The Liberal label was demonized by conservatives and the same media that Glenn writes about.

I am a very proud Liberal!

Monday, April 07, 2008 8:46:00 AM  
Blogger Joshua James said...

Fair enough, anon - but I'd note a great many "liberals" in the House and Senate voted for the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, Kyl / Lieberman, FISA . . . and stood by while the President broke federal law and our country tortured prisoners and kept folks locked up for years without due process . . .

To me, that's not liberal. But I acknowledge your point that politicians often don't represent the political POV. So other than bloggers, who of our elected does?

Monday, April 07, 2008 9:24:00 AM  
Blogger fahrender said...

i think that politicians have destroyed the meanings of both liberal and conservative. the Republicans managed to make the word liberal an insult, and a lot of Democrats have helped them do it by not really standing for much of anything. the Republicans have also destroyed the word conservative, but they did that pretty much on their own.

Monday, April 07, 2008 10:32:00 AM  

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