Today, a word about who might enjoy reading Matt Taibbi's books.
Taibbi is a political and cultural reporter who is not shy about sharing his opinions. But the great thing about Matt Taibbi is not so much that he shares his actual political opinions; rather, it is that he is not afraid to say opinionated things about all political candidates and many other figures in the news, including head finance honchos and other people in power (as well as his fellow journalists). This makes him, in my mind, one of the few actually "objective" reporters out there. I don't actually know who Matt Taibbi would vote for, or if he even votes, although he did seem rather fond of Dennis Kucinich in his book Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches from the Dumb Season. A few guidelines, then, for offering Matt Taibbi in reader's advisory situations, or when recommending books to friends:
1. Do not give him to true believer Republicans. That's not going to work.
2. Do not give him to true believer Democrats. That's not going to work either, although he probably does hew more closely in personal politics to what would be Democratic principles, if Democrats had any principles.
3. Do not give him to readers who can't stand swearing. This is the man who called Alan Greenspan a "one in a billion asshole," after all.
4. Do give him to people who have voted for candidates like Kucinich, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, etc. Any candidate who the media brands as someone who doesn't stand a chance, in short.
5. Do give him to fans of Hunter S. Thompson (Taibbi also makes reference to his own personal drug use, which I don't particularly need but for which I don't particularly blame him). Readers who enjoy Joe Bageant may like him as well.
6. Do give him to readers who enjoy learning about the media; Taibbi always gives great behind-the-scenes information about how journalism really works (or doesn't).
7. Do give him to any readers who are tired of the political choices in America, and who need a laugh. Give him to anyone who might agree with this statement of his, made in Spanking the Donkey: "I believe America's greatest problem is its incivility, its intolerance to new ideas, its remorseless hatred of weakness and failure, and the willingness of its individual citizens to submerge their individual cowardice within the vicious commerce-driven standards of our national self-image." (p. 144.)
7. Last but not least, do not give him to fans of Thomas Friedman. Taibbi is not a fan. And I'm particularly happy to post those links today, on Thomas Friedman's birthday. Happy Birthday, and many more to you, Thomas Friedman!
So there you have it, with only one short birthday wishes digression, a handy-dandy guide to Reader's Advisory involving Matt Taibbi.