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Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches from the Dumb Season

by

Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches from the Dumb Season Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Taibbi's point that journalists play into the drama of the set and too often fail to question the process, is a good one. Moreover, directness, vision, and uncommon intellect are the qualities we should look for in a leader, but in practice belittle, as Taibbi notes. Journalists and the audience have come to accept politics as theater — and to reward those who are most adept at its superficial play, while punishing those who veer from the script. But it is easy to make fun of the stagehands, much harder to write a good show." Hope Glassberg, the New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Matt Taibbi has a problem. A big one. Working as a correspondent for the New York Press, The Nation, and Rolling Stone, he has close-up access to the Democratic primary for the 2004 presidential election: a seat on John Kerry's campaign plane, a face-to-face encounter with the pancake makeup of John Edwards, enough Howard Dean press conferences to memorize the good doctor's stump speech by heart, and, by way of contrast, a two-month undercover stint working for the Republicans in Orlando, Florida. But the closer he gets to the candidates, the more pompous and vapid they appear. How can anyone write meaningfully about these puffed-up martinets, let alone vote for them?

Taibbi fulfills his responsibilities as a serious campaign reporter with frequent bouts of blind panic, sad attempts to cope with drugs, and the donning of a gorilla suit; in addition, as he follows the dog-and-pony show around the country, he forgoes lavish journalists' watering holes in favor of hostels and halfway houses. Such devices allow our protagonist to register, with sharpness and mounting anxiety, the gaping canyon that divides swaths of sane working Americans from the political phonies who purport to represent them.

Spanking the Donkey is a campaign diary like no other. In turns pointed and laugh-out-loud funny, it indicts the surreal irrelevance of today's mainstream politics with barbed wit and caustic intelligence. As a patron at Flo's Bar in Manchester, New Hampshire, eloquently puts it: "They all suck....Who's running?"

Review:

"Collecting articles Taibbi wrote for the New York Press, the Nation and Rolling Stone while covering the 2004 presidential election, this book is not so much a campaign diary as it is a compelling, and somewhat chaotic, mix of reporting, anecdote, social commentary and rant. After spending time primarily on the Democrat trail, but also working undercover with a few Republicans in Orlando, Taibbi came to the conclusion that people on both sides of the political fence seemed to be motivated 'mainly out of hatred and contempt for the guy on the other side, not inspiration or idealism.' In his introduction, Taibbi points out his big problem with the 2004 elections: the red vs. blue drama kicked America into such a fervor that the 'fraudulent electoral system was reaffirmed.' In each piece, Taibbi's rage and humor bleeds through, making this a vivid and very personal critique of both politics and the mainstream journalists who cover it. His unabashedly opinionated reporting — he writes of the antiwar marches in Washington, of following Dennis Kucinich around New Hampshire while high and of meeting John Kerry while wearing a gorilla suit — will either amuse or irritate, depending on one's political persuasion, but it's hard not to be engrossed by the eccentric characters, entertaining scenarios and rich details that drive these stories. Though the newsworthy moment for this book may have passed, Taibbi's observations about the people he meets are acute, and his criticisms of American politics and the press will still feel relevant to many." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Collecting articles Taibbi wrote for the New York Press, the Nation and Rolling Stone while covering the 2004 presidential election, this book is not so much a campaign diary as it is a compelling, and somewhat chaotic, mix of reporting, anecdote, social commentary and rant. After spending time primarily on the Democrat trail, but also working undercover with a few Republicans in Orlando, Taibbi came to the conclusion that people on both sides of the political fence seemed to be motivated 'mainly out of hatred and contempt for the guy on the other side, not inspiration or idealism.' In his introduction, Taibbi points out his big problem with the 2004 elections: the red vs. blue drama kicked America into such a fervor that the 'fraudulent electoral system was reaffirmed.' In each piece, Taibbi's rage and humor bleeds through, making this a vivid and very personal critique of both politics and the mainstream journalists who cover it. His unabashedly opinionated reporting-he writes of the antiwar marches in Washington, of following Dennis Kucinich around New Hampshire while high and of meeting John Kerry while wearing a gorilla suit-will either amuse or irritate, depending on one's political persuasion, but it's hard not to be engrossed by the eccentric characters, entertaining scenarios and rich details that drive these stories. Though the newsworthy moment for this book may have passed, Taibbi's observations about the people he meets are acute, and his criticisms of American politics and the press will still feel relevant to many." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Spanking the Donkey is the funniest angry book and angriest funny book since Hunter S. Thompson roared into town. Drop into any chapter, and you'll soon find yourself addicted." James Wolcott

Review:

"Matt Taibbi is one of the few journalists I read because I want to, not because I have to. His detached contempt is pitch-perfect. He'll piss you off and make you laugh out loud, usually within the space of a single paragraph." Tom Tomorrow

Review:

"Extremely funny and breathtaking in his ferocity." Alexander Chancellor

Book News Annotation:

Originally intending to write a straight campaign trail diary of the donkey side of the 2004 presidential election campaign, New York Press columnist Taibbi could not help himself from satirizing both Democrats and Republicans. Some pieces have been published previously, but the book includes material on the anti-Iraq war movement for Rolling Stone that never made it into print.
Annotation 2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Book News Annotation:

Originally intending to write a straight campaign trail diary of the donkey side of the 2004 presidential election campaign, New York Press columnist Taibbi could not help himself from satirizing both Democrats and Republicans. Some pieces have been published previously, but the book includes material on the anti-Iraq war movement for Rolling Stone that never made it into print. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Spanking the Donkey is a campaign diary like no other. Celebrated reporter Matt Taibbi turns a withering eye on the kissing contest of puffed-up martinets and egomaniacal fantasists more generally known as the 2004 Democratic primaries. Taibbi's contempt for the whole charade, and for most of those involved (including a generous helping of his fellow journalists), makes for a searing and highly entertaining account. His refusal to take the proceedings seriously leads him to volunteer for Wesley Clark's New Hampshire campaign in the guise of an adult-film director, while his take on a John Edwards press conference in New York City is filtered through the haze of hallucinogenic drugs. Taking up residence in slums and halfway houses as he follows the circus around the country, Taibbi juxtaposes an idiotic dog-and-pony show in which clashes of plainly identical candidates are presented as real controversies, with the quite separate concerns of the ordinary Americans whose lodgings he shares. The gap between the antiseptic exercise in faint patriotic optimism that is mainstream politics and the harsh realities of life for the millions of Americans that the electoral parade simply passes by has never been more sharply, or hilariously, sketched.

Synopsis:

An up-close look at the democratic race for the White House — it isn't pretty.

About the Author

Matt Taibbi is a columnist for the New York Press and a contributing editor to Rolling Stone. He worked for ten years as a journalist in Russia, where he edited the satirical magazine The eXile. He has also played baseball for the Red Army and professional basketball in Mongolia. He lives in New York City.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781565848917
Illustrated by:
David Rees
Publisher:
New Press
Illustrator:
Rees, David
Author:
Rees, David
Author:
Taibbi, Matt
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
Journalists
Subject:
Government - U.S. Government
Subject:
Political Process - Political Parties
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Conservatism & Liberalism
Subject:
United States Politics and government.
Subject:
Journalists -- United States.
Subject:
Politics-United States Politics
Subject:
Politics - General
Subject:
Political Parties
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
April 2005
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
331
Dimensions:
8.1 x 6.3 in 20.5 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Football » General

Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches from the Dumb Season Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.50 In Stock
Product details 331 pages New Press - English 9781565848917 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Collecting articles Taibbi wrote for the New York Press, the Nation and Rolling Stone while covering the 2004 presidential election, this book is not so much a campaign diary as it is a compelling, and somewhat chaotic, mix of reporting, anecdote, social commentary and rant. After spending time primarily on the Democrat trail, but also working undercover with a few Republicans in Orlando, Taibbi came to the conclusion that people on both sides of the political fence seemed to be motivated 'mainly out of hatred and contempt for the guy on the other side, not inspiration or idealism.' In his introduction, Taibbi points out his big problem with the 2004 elections: the red vs. blue drama kicked America into such a fervor that the 'fraudulent electoral system was reaffirmed.' In each piece, Taibbi's rage and humor bleeds through, making this a vivid and very personal critique of both politics and the mainstream journalists who cover it. His unabashedly opinionated reporting — he writes of the antiwar marches in Washington, of following Dennis Kucinich around New Hampshire while high and of meeting John Kerry while wearing a gorilla suit — will either amuse or irritate, depending on one's political persuasion, but it's hard not to be engrossed by the eccentric characters, entertaining scenarios and rich details that drive these stories. Though the newsworthy moment for this book may have passed, Taibbi's observations about the people he meets are acute, and his criticisms of American politics and the press will still feel relevant to many." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Collecting articles Taibbi wrote for the New York Press, the Nation and Rolling Stone while covering the 2004 presidential election, this book is not so much a campaign diary as it is a compelling, and somewhat chaotic, mix of reporting, anecdote, social commentary and rant. After spending time primarily on the Democrat trail, but also working undercover with a few Republicans in Orlando, Taibbi came to the conclusion that people on both sides of the political fence seemed to be motivated 'mainly out of hatred and contempt for the guy on the other side, not inspiration or idealism.' In his introduction, Taibbi points out his big problem with the 2004 elections: the red vs. blue drama kicked America into such a fervor that the 'fraudulent electoral system was reaffirmed.' In each piece, Taibbi's rage and humor bleeds through, making this a vivid and very personal critique of both politics and the mainstream journalists who cover it. His unabashedly opinionated reporting-he writes of the antiwar marches in Washington, of following Dennis Kucinich around New Hampshire while high and of meeting John Kerry while wearing a gorilla suit-will either amuse or irritate, depending on one's political persuasion, but it's hard not to be engrossed by the eccentric characters, entertaining scenarios and rich details that drive these stories. Though the newsworthy moment for this book may have passed, Taibbi's observations about the people he meets are acute, and his criticisms of American politics and the press will still feel relevant to many." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Taibbi's point that journalists play into the drama of the set and too often fail to question the process, is a good one. Moreover, directness, vision, and uncommon intellect are the qualities we should look for in a leader, but in practice belittle, as Taibbi notes. Journalists and the audience have come to accept politics as theater — and to reward those who are most adept at its superficial play, while punishing those who veer from the script. But it is easy to make fun of the stagehands, much harder to write a good show." (read the entire New Republic review)
"Review" by , "Spanking the Donkey is the funniest angry book and angriest funny book since Hunter S. Thompson roared into town. Drop into any chapter, and you'll soon find yourself addicted." James Wolcott
"Review" by , "Matt Taibbi is one of the few journalists I read because I want to, not because I have to. His detached contempt is pitch-perfect. He'll piss you off and make you laugh out loud, usually within the space of a single paragraph." Tom Tomorrow
"Review" by , "Extremely funny and breathtaking in his ferocity."
"Synopsis" by , Spanking the Donkey is a campaign diary like no other. Celebrated reporter Matt Taibbi turns a withering eye on the kissing contest of puffed-up martinets and egomaniacal fantasists more generally known as the 2004 Democratic primaries. Taibbi's contempt for the whole charade, and for most of those involved (including a generous helping of his fellow journalists), makes for a searing and highly entertaining account. His refusal to take the proceedings seriously leads him to volunteer for Wesley Clark's New Hampshire campaign in the guise of an adult-film director, while his take on a John Edwards press conference in New York City is filtered through the haze of hallucinogenic drugs. Taking up residence in slums and halfway houses as he follows the circus around the country, Taibbi juxtaposes an idiotic dog-and-pony show in which clashes of plainly identical candidates are presented as real controversies, with the quite separate concerns of the ordinary Americans whose lodgings he shares. The gap between the antiseptic exercise in faint patriotic optimism that is mainstream politics and the harsh realities of life for the millions of Americans that the electoral parade simply passes by has never been more sharply, or hilariously, sketched.
"Synopsis" by , An up-close look at the democratic race for the White House — it isn't pretty.
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