Monday, July 28, 2008

Book Recommendations for Thinkie Thinker Types Who Also Like to Laugh

A couple months ago, give or take, I saw Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi on The Daily Show, talking about his latest book, "The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire." Looooong title. But the premise - infiltrating the ministries of John Hagee, living a dual life as a hated person by the 9/11 Truth Movement and a member of the movement, covering the absurdities of Congress and also being unexpectedly touched by the macabre humor of soldiers in Iraq - immediately sounded like a fascinating read. I wasn't wrong. Taibbi finds him in such absurd circumstances - mock puking into a bag as a minister purges out the demons of handwriting analysis, for one - that you find yourself at times wondering how on earth anyone could actually believe enough to fall for any of this. But Taibbi himself at times nearly forgets he's playacting. The most humorous passages, natch, come from his experiences in Hagee's camps and in covering Congress - including several pages devoted to the finagling of Texas' own Sam Johnson.