Friday, August 29, 2003

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will get me a $1M advance from St. Martin's Press

Over at Slate, Jack Shafer talks about an issue that is near and dear to me: the disappearance of rational political discourse. From Ann Coulter to Al Franken, actual reasoned debate is all but dead. Shafer pegs this correctly to the rise of the "liar-liar" books. Coulter's Treason, Franken's Lying Liars and others are summed up by Shafer thusly: "The unspoken premise of the liar-liar books - no matter who writes them - is that the other side lies and mine doesn't. Of course, neither wing has ever told it straight, a fact all liar-liar books neglect." Amen, Jack. The problem with these books is that they are bought by the ideological supporters of each side and used to formulate their arguments. In doing so the quality of their position is lowered and they demonize their opposition. This results in the two main parties being increasingly dominated by their radical wings. And leaves those of us in the middle without a place to call home.

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