100 People Who Are Screwing Up America  

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37)

By Bernard Goldberg
2005, from the library

You should know

I was a member of my university’s Political Action Club with Chris, Brian, and Paul. There was very little actual action, but we had some fun debates, and Chris and Brian were both Political Science majors (Paul majored in International Relations, so there was some overlap). So while politics is not my area of expertise, I’ve picked up a few things – whether I wanted to or not.

I’ve also read Goldberg’s Bias for a class. It was ranty.

And by the way, I enjoy The Vagina Monologues and try to support a production every year. This is relevant. Also, I should add that I was a Gender Studies minor.


Ok, I know better than to expect a book like this to be unbiased. I mean, come on. And Goldberg even says so from the very beginning: this is his list, not yours. You’re welcome to make your own list. I’m sure there are people who would put him on their lists. Fine.

And for the most part, he explains why someone is on the list. Even if I didn’t agree with him, I could generally see where he was coming from. So, that’s fine, too.

The problem is, he rarely stops there. For example, take his tirade against Eve Ensler (#96). He thinks she ruined Valentine’s Day. He finds some of the Vagina Monologues hypocritical. He doesn’t think she deserves the many awards she’s received. And I see where he’s coming from, I really do.

But well before that, he goes on a lengthy rant about what “feminism” means… and it’s nothing good. Feminism is “about the never-ending saga of women as ‘victims’ and men as ‘oppressors.’” He cites some pretty radical women, but never backs up to wonder if those women are truly representative. We find out what feminism means to Goldberg, but not much about what feminism actually means.

And that’s just one subject. He does this for many groups: takes an individual he despises, gives us pretty sensible reasons for it (even if you don’t agree with them), but then exaggerates the qualities and applies them to the entire group this individual supposedly represents.

Even that would be tolerable if it wasn’t the very crime he slings against those groups. He goes out of his way to not be a hypocrite in this respect, but it just doesn’t work. And it’s a shame.


Read it – if you want to get good and mad
You’re probably going to get angry if you read this book. If you agree with him, you’ll be angry on behalf of your nation, and what all these horrible people are doing to it. If you disagree, you’ll be angry at Goldberg himself. And if you want to get good and confused, see what happens when you sometimes agree, and sometimes disagree.

Oh, and I don’t know what you think of cheap shots, but see also: Courtney Love (#95).

The rest of the Internet

It looks like Goldberg added 10 people to his list.
Goldberg's website.
His Wikipedia entry.
Goldberg talks about the book on The Daily Show.
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