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Strange Bedfellows: How Late-Night Comedy Turns Democracy into a Joke
It is no coincidence that presidential candidates have been making it a point to add the late-night comedy circuit to the campaign trail in recent years. In 2004, when John Kerry decided it was time to do his first national television interview, he did not choose CBS’s 60 Minutes, ABC’s Nightline, or NBC Nightly News. Kerry picked Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. When Geor ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published March 5th 2008 by Rutgers University Press
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The truth may be that Letterman--like a lot of Americans--has for so long sheathed himself in anti-political cynicism that now that he has begun to care, he doesn't know what to think.
If American politics is more about image than political issues, then the subject matter of this book is critical. I don't know if I actually feel this is a four star book, but it's a great collection of data, quotes and arguments, even if Peterson could have afforded to focus more on coherency than making jokes.
A m ...more
Clearly, Peterson worships the ground Steven Colbert walks on. This book is a paen to him and, to a lesser extent, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher. And is reasonably entertaining. However the tone is wildly uneven, a result of trying to turn a scholarly thesis into a popular book, I suspect. It is also seriously partisan. And he never definitively answers the question posed by the title of the book. So although he raises some interesting points, there is still a better book to be written on this subj ...more
Good book about a somewhat odd topic, but I liked it. Peterson doesn't exactly stay non-partisan throughout the novel, but he does make a clear and important point about how Leno and Letterman and co. do a lot of harm to democracy by reducing the political system to an extremely oversimplified tradeoff between quirky characters rather than intelligent choice between politicians representing opposing viewpoints.