Stephen Colbert announced his candidacy for President of the United States last night, and The Park Bench would like to hereby officially endorse the good man as its number one choice – nay, its only choice – for the job. We issue this endorsement not only because we respect his manly coiffure and panther-like prowess behind the anchor desk, but also because we feel this is the safest route possible in the event that the Colbert Nation actually takes over the nation. Which, if they move very quietly and without any sudden movements, is entirely possible. So I hope Future President Mr. Colbert will remember who his friends were in the early dark days of his campaign when no one but his mother and millions and millions and millions of rabidly loyal fans were behind him.
And since we're sucking up to Colbert anyway, I may as well share my thoughts on his best-selling tome, I Am America and So Can You. But before I do, let me just take a moment to high-five the creators of the Barnes and Noble discount card for saving me a whopping $12 on this beauty. It was a moment of gorgeous frugality and one I’ll likely never forget…until the day I save $13 on something.
Anyway, back to the book. It’s very good, very entertaining and very funny. Parts of it lag, but that’s just the way it is with any humor book. You’ve got to give folks a respite from laughing at insulting the elderly and Colbert's (written) cries of “Baby carrots are making me gay!” So with that in mind, the book definitely satisfies…yes, just like a Snickers.
I Am America owes a lot to the usual “this is my political philosophy, aren't I awesome” books that politicians and pundits like to cough up like so many hairballs every election cycle. It also owes a lot, though, to John Hodgman’s Areas of My Expertise with its willingness to just shoot manically and without reason from subject to subject with breathtaking ease and hilarious results. And I love the margin notes, which perfectly mimic the point/counterpoint of the nightly The Word segment on "The Colbert Report."
The book is a well-written, perfectly toned exercise in absurdity, something which I hope real politicians will aim for in the future. It would make this whole process a lot easier.
So, both of my thumbs are up in the air, wavin' like I just don't care, for I Am America and So Can You. And, by the way, if you’re waiting to buy the soft cover, don’t, because there are lots of very cool unexpected extras in the hardcover, like a sign you can put in your window alerting firefighters as to how many copies of I Am America and So Can You are in your household and in need of rescuing before and/or in place of your pets and children. You know John Grisham is kicking himself for not thinking of that one first....