I am America (And so can You!), by Stephen Colbert

December 23, 2010 at 14:20 (Book Reviews, Politics, Poorly Rated Books) (, , , , )


Sarcasm works in one of two ways: either it can provide a satirical commentary by taking ideas to their extreme (if illogical) conclusion, or else it can take ideas and repeat them word-for-word in a silly voice, and hope that everyone gets the point.

Sadly, this book takes the latter course. There is plenty to make fun of in American ultra-conservatism, and plenty to ridicule in contemporary American politics, so it’s a fairly rich playground for any comedian/journalist/satirist/hack to play in. Colbert stretches a rather thin joke over some two hundred pages after essentially using it up on the front cover.

Most of his humour throughout a book that surely has most of its copies consigned to the bathrooms of impulse buyers, consists of his persona offering up right wing views in a stupid voice, and then waiting for the laugh. There are a few moments where he becomes offensive (mostly when he is gratuitously graphic), but mostly this book ends up as a bitterly ironic reflection of its own target of lampoonery: a fellow with a vastly over-inflated view of his own wit and intellect, talking loudly. Stephen Colbert, you just are not that funny.


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