Synopses & Reviews
Read a newspaper or catch the news on television and you might get the impression that America's current leadership is "mainstream": perhaps a bit more conservative and in its foreign policy more belligerent than its predecessors, but still a federal authority that functions within America's political traditions. But as Mark Crispin Miller argues here with great clarity and effect, we are in fact living in a state that would appall the Founding Fathers: a state that is neither democratic nor republican, and no more "conservative" than it is liberal. He exposes the Bush Republican's contempt for democratic practice, their bullying religiosity, their reckless militarism, their apocalyptic views of the economy and the planet, and above all their emotional dependence on sheer hatefulness.
"In delivering this blunt jeremiad Bush is "fascistic," "theocratic," a "crook," etc.Miller (The Bush Dyslexicon) argues that the Bush-era press isn't simply biased, it has been lulled into an Orwellian false consciousness. One of the major examples Miller, a professor of media studies at NYU, offers is the case of Scott Ritter, the former U.N. weapons inspector who insisted before the war that Iraq probably had no unconventional weapons and was treated by TV interviewers like Paula Zahn as a near-stooge for Saddam. For Miller, further elements of the current order include electronic voting machines that he says were used to tilt the 2002 congressional elections and a cabal of Christian Reconstructionists that wants to impose theocracy on America. Miller, sometimes overheatedly, links the "extremist propaganda" of the Christian right to Bush assertions and policies, traces it to groups like the highly secretive Council for National Policy, and presents what he sees as a final agenda: "To such apocalyptic types, the prospect of a ruined earth is no big deal, as long as God can be alleged to go for it." While such arguments are familiar, as is the indignant tone, Miller's thoroughness and clarity in tracking down the sources of the policies he decries, and the ways in which they are disseminated, set the book apart." Publishers Weekly
"Bush criticism seems to demand Miller's brand of lonely brilliance...His strongest argument concerns the First Amendment: We err today in thinking it's intended to protect the producers of speech." Newsday
"A critical contribution to America's internal, life-or-death debate over foreign and domestic policy." Booklist
"[T]his is a critical contribution to America's internal, life-or-death debate over foreign and domestic policy." Booklist
"[Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order] adds up to a nicely juicy rant-but not much more-some of the details of which may come as news to some readers." Kirkus Reviews
With great clarity and effect, this important book exposes the Bush Republicans' contempt for democratic practice, their bullying religiosity, their reckless militarism, their apocalyptic views of the economy and the planet, and--above all--their emotional dependence on sheer hatefulness.
About the Author
Mark Crispin Miller is a professor of media studies at New York University and the author of The Bush Dyslexicon. He lives in New York City.