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Reaction of the Non-Right 
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Post Reaction of the Non-Right
I am more curious about reactions to Al Franken's book from the center and left. What impact will books such as Lies...etc., Michael Moore's books and movies and other such attacks on the Right have on the prospects for the election of a president who will support a less dangerous more feasible foreign policy than that chosen by the present administration? Specifically will voters in the U.S. who are more likely to vote for a Bush re-election swing to the left under the influence of this book?

It is on the best-seller list, but if it is only being read by his existing fans, left leaning Democrats, and Ralph-Nader supporters, it is preaching to the converted and will have little impact.

I cannot imagine very many of the people who could to be swung to the progressive side will read Lies.....etc.. Won't many potential readers in this group glance through it and react to its many faults by deciding not to buy and read it thoroughly? For example, his personal attack on Barbara Bush (true or not, it is irrelevant to his main thesis, and bound to offend many people. I think it was dumb.) its Al-centeredness (It appears to be all about Al Franken. For example "I" is in the titles of nine chapters, "my" in one.), his constant jarring and pointless use of vulgar language, the overly long and unfunny Chapter 29 that his editors should have forced him to cut out, and many more. One more example. If you read the Supply Side Jesus strip to the end, you realize it is not an attack on Christianity. But that fact is made clear only near the end. If a religious person who picks it up in a bookstore, flips through it and is attracted by the comic strip, Supply Side Jesus, that person is likely to be offended by the first few frames, place it firmly back on the shelf, and warn his or her friends that it is anti-Christian book.

In the first paragraph I exposed my own prejudice with the words, "who will support a less dangerous more feasible foreign policy than that undertaken by the present administration." My prejudice is, I believe, well founded. It has to do with North Korea. The South Koreans and the Japanese (and not incidentally, non-Japanese permanently living in Japan) are content to wait for the regime to die a natural death. The greatest danger now is not the North Koreans suddenly deciding to conquer the south. It is the Bush regime deciding to eliminate the hypothetical risk of an attack on America by terrorists using North Korea nukes with a preemptive attack on the north that would devastate South Korea and seriously threaten Japan. Yes Japan. If attacked by the US, the natural targets of any nukes the North might have would be American bases in and near Korea. Three of these are about 20 kilometers from my home (and within about 50 kilometers of 30 million Japanese); the Yokosuka and Atsugi U.S. navy bases and Yokota Air Base. Even if the north's guidance systems are perfect, no matter which way the wind is blowing, the Tokyo region, including my neighborhood will be coated in radioactive fallout. And if their aim is poor?

Getting back to Lies ...etc. My guess is that it will be politically irrelevant because its strident tone and excesses guarantee that while it is making Al a lot of money as it sells well among his fans and others already firmly committed to his views, it is being ignored by those who could benefit from getting past its flaws to find the message.

Peter Dunning

Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:38 pm
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Post Re: Reaction of the Non-Right
Perhaps. But although my basic inclination is to agree with Franken, there is lots of material in the book that I was unaware of; points which may be useful in conversation, etc. Not that my knowledge is going to make all that much difference either, but in the "large numbers of supporters" you guess (and I agree) who are reading the book, are some who will make a difference. Some who will run for office; some who will write less pugnacious analayses; some who will convince a middle of the roader. Or at least, so I hope.

And Franken making a bundle from it isn't a bad thing either. I bet he donates to causes I agree with!

If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984

Sun Jan 04, 2004 12:46 pm
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Post He is welcome to his bundle.
Jeremy, you suggested a beneficial effect, I hadn't thought of; providing people already on his side with new ammnunition.

I regret the reference to Al Franken making money from his book, cause it sounds like I disapprove. I don't object at all.

Actually, I am one of his fans. I hear him frequently on NPR (Fresh Air, Prairie Home Companion) and always look forward to it. I just wonder if he was trying to squeeze too much into Lies etc..., and that not all of it was relevant.

Mon Jan 05, 2004 4:54 am

Post Re: He is welcome to his bundle.
>>its Al-centeredness (It appears to be all about Al Franken. For example "I" is in the titles of nine chapters, "my" in one.)<<

--That's tongue in cheek, part of his act left over from Saturday Night Live, where he declared the 80's the Al Franken Decade.

Thu Jan 08, 2004 9:50 pm

Post Re: He is welcome to his bundle.
Nah, it was a very funny book. Not up to Michael Moore's standard, but it shows that some americans have some political guts.

He just keeps stopping at the 'liberal' line - scared of following through on the thought processes he provokes.

It's OK. Al - it is possible to be progressive & anti-capitalist! It doesn't hurt- in fact, it feels just fine, and more americans should shed their inhibitions and give it a go!

Thu Jan 29, 2004 10:51 pm
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