Patrick Gibson's Reviews > Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race

Earth (The Book) by Jon Stewart
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Sep 28, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: humorous, truth_sort-of
Read from September 28 to October 09, 2010

If you've read America (The Book), know first that this book is different. America makes itself out to be a mock textbook, and has many long, hilarious text passages that skewer politics and education at the same time. However, there are also the occasional pages that are infographics, with jokes both in the images and the captions that take up complete pages.

Now imagine that the entire book were made out of these commented infographics, with the subject matter shifted from the USA to the entire planet, and aimed at an audience of aliens who find the Earth deserted after the human race spectacularly manufactures its own demise, and you have Earth (The Book).

It's a digest that delightfully destroys all aspects of society, from our perceptions of aliens to the planet itself; to commerce, religion and culture. It can be picked up occasionally and flipped to a random page, as each joke is encapsulated and confined. Or, it can be read large sections at a time, with every word and picture perused until you can laugh no more. There is at least one brilliant joke per page, and quite often more than that.

This book pokes fun at anything and everything, and you may find the finger pointing at yourself now and again. If you can't laugh at your own idiosyncrasies and beliefs, skip this book and recommend it to someone with a sense of humor. If you can't take a joke, this book isn't for you.

The only down side, one that America (The Book) has less of a problem with, is that some of the jokes can't stand the test of time in the long term. In 50 years, the numerous pop culture references throughout the book will be largely forgotten, lost to the winds of time. It's better that way, of course, as their shallowness is a significant reason why this book makes fun of them. So perhaps this won't be one of the great literary classics, discussed and venerated for all time, but there's certainly enough timeless humor in here for it to be funny at least as long as you'll be alive. Get it now, and leave it in a conspicuous place when you're not reading it (the coffee table, perhaps?), so that when we do destroy ourselves, the aliens can see this message.
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