Marty Beckerman’s Dumbocracy takes a fresh look at the typical right wing versus left wing argument in politics. While most political books pick one side and defend it to the death, Beckerman throws both sides under the bus, showing the reader the dangers of both extremes and presenting misguided activists in an embarrassing and hilarious light.
The novel takes some of today’s biggest issues – abortion, the separation of church and state, God in general, religious conflicts, drugs, teenage sexuality – and dismantles pretty much every position that an extremist can hold.
Both sides take damage. Left wingers are described as passive aggressive morons and right wingers are overly aggressive hot heads.
Dumbocracy is not just Beckerman’s opinion either. Every insult, every accusation is backed by a source and the sources are all neatly organized in the back of the book as though Beckerman is daring the reader to disagree, which is hard considering every source is concrete evidence from a third party.
Unfortunately, while concrete evidence is all well and good, it’s during these fact-spitting moments that the book begins to lose some steam. While informative, the almost never ending stream of facts that the book has to throw at the reader to validate it’s points, gets grating after a while, especially if the reader is just looking for a good laugh. Political satire is funny, politics is just plain boring.
The best parts of the novel are during Beckerman’s interviews with the psychotic members of political activist groups. Beckerman travels to Israel, abortion and anti-abortion rallies, Republican and Democrat conventions, Jewish support groups, and several gay bars.
“To hell and back” is how he describes his journey. His interviews with the misguided members of each group and the “join us or die” mentality that they all share is hilarious and a perfect way to brighten up anyone’s day – especially if they’re sick of politics.
Depending on the reader, the language within the book can also be a slight turn off. Beckerman is a foul-mouthed little journalist, swearing with an almost frightening ease. Words are any writer’s greatest weapon, and Beckerman has a nuclear arsenal of swears, colloquialisms, insults and innuendos.
Whether or not the language is a positive aspect of the book remains to be seen. It’s the one aspect of the book that is truly to the reader’s taste. Either a reader can get past the language problem and take it with a grain of salt or it will totally and completely alienate someone who attempts to pick the book up. Beckerman probably won’t care either way.
At the end of the day, Dumbocracy is hilarious, but it’s not something to recommend to a mother or a small child. It’s an easy read, almost like talking to a really riled up friend, and getting past the almost annoying amount of outside information is easy if you just look forward to the next interview with a crazy person.
Take some time within the next four years to give this one a read. Then take a good, strong look at how politicians really are and then go vote again.