by Noel Rooney
[ bookreviews ]
There is a whole industry out there devoted to satirising George Bush, for his alleged stupidity, illiteracy, and of course for his famously ham-fisted assaults on the English language. This industry has already begun to adopt a tone of nostalgia; the people who work in it will miss him and, privately, they kind of like him. Jack Huberman is not a part of this industry, and there is no sense of nostalgia, or arcane fondness, lurking in these ire- and fact-packed pages.
Instead, despite the humour, there is a grim sense of purpose behind this follow-up to the famous Bush-Haterís Handbook, one which was less apparent in its prequel. Huberman plainly believes that the United States is in a dangerous pre-fascist phase, where politics (in the sense of both the theatre of infotainment and, sadly, the world where the real people live) is increasingly dominated by a cabal of nutty imperialists; whatís more, he is quietly pessimistic about their ever relinquishing power, at least not by fair electoral means.
Documented here in great scope and detail are the lies, machinations, war crimes and grand larceny of the Bush administration; how both elections were rigged; how inequality has grown to unprecedented extremes; how broadly discriminatory the administration is (they really do seem to hate more or less everybody); how foreign adventures have transfixed the administration to the detriment of everything else; how the corpulent corporate few have thrived at the expense of an increasingly unhealthy, over-worked, uncared-for majority.
Huberman does things to the language too; but his verbal skills are a little more sophisticated than the Great Arbusto. I particularly liked his coinage for the tragic farrago of Iraq, Messopotamia; but there are plenty more angry little gems in here. He also lances the entire cast of Bushites with the simple weapon of their own words; take for instance the eminently hard-to-like (and famously unmarried) Condoleeza Rice, whom he quotes as opening a speech to lobby journalists with "as I was saying to my husb... (pause) ...as I was saying to President Bush" - priceless.