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On Sale: June 26, 2012
Pages: 208 | ISBN: 978-0-307-94863-2
Published by : Vintage Knopf
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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents

Synopsis

Ever since John Hancock broke into song after signing the Declaration of Independence, American politics and musicals have been inextricably linked. From Alexander Hamilton's jazz hands, to Chester A. Arthur's oboe operas, to Newt Gingrich's off-Broadway sexscapade, You, Me, and My Moon Colony Mistress Makes Three, government and musical theater have joined forces to document our nation's long history of freedom, partisanship, and dancers on roller skates pretending to be choo choo trains.
 
To celebrate this grand union of entrenched bureaucracy and song, the patriots at McSweeney's Internet Tendency (“The Iowa Caucus of humor websites”) offer this riotous collection (peacefully assembled!) of monologues, charts, scripts, lists, diatribes, AND musicals written by the noted fake-musical lyricist, Ben Greenman. On the agenda are . . . 
 
Fragments from PALIN! THE MUSICAL
 
Barack Obama’s Undersold 2012 Campaign Slogans
 
Atlas Shrugged Updated for the Financial Crisis
 
Your Attempts to Legislate Hunting Man for Sport Reek of Class Warfare
 
A 1980s Teen Sex Comedy Becomes Politically Uncomfortable
 
Donald Rumsfeld Memoir Chapter Title Or German Heavy Metal Song?
 
Noises Political Pundits Would Make If They Were Wild Animals and Not Political Pundits
 
Ron Paul Gives a Guided Tour of His Navajo Art Collection
 
Classic Nursery Rhymes, Updated and Revamped for the Recession, As Told to Me By My Father
 
And much more!

Excerpt

FOREWORD
Wyatt Cenac

If you are reading this, it means that someone just gave you this book as a gift. Congratulations. Whatever you did was more than likely “gift-worthy.” You probably had a birthday or a half birthday. Maybe you graduated from an institution of higher learning or you escaped from prison. Or your significant other gave you this book to keep you quiet on a road trip to Oakland. In any case, you accomplished something impressive enough that someone felt this book would be the perfect thing that would speak to your sensibilities, amuse you, and keep you quiet on the 580 freeway. If you bought this book for yourself, then sincerest apologies that nobody likes you enough to buy it for you. But don’t give up hope.
 
Not the hope that you will be more likeable. That is out of this book’s hands because there may be real reasons why nobody should like you. Reasons that can’t be found in the pages of this book. Still read this book, but afterwards find yourself a nice self-help book, like McSweeney’s Book of Self-Improvement, Actualization, and Musicals, which will be in bookstores next never. But putting that aside, the point is don’t give up hope in its most general sense. It is a truly American ideal. Apple pie is almost as American as hope. Or so it hopes.
 
It was hope that brought the first colonists to this country in search of a better land that would allow them social and religious freedoms that they could then deny others. It was hope that put smallpox in blankets, thereby making this land a bit cheaper to purchase from its original owners. Hope put tea in a harbor, angering and confusing the British as well as today’s senior citizens. Hope gave sciatica to a black lady on a bus in Montgomery, inspiring a civil rights movement while encouraging the health benefits of walking at least thirty minutes a day. Hope keeps same-sex partners together, looking toward the day when they, too, can legally get divorced.
 
Hope is the binding agent for political discourse in the United States. As a voter, one hopes their needs are being listened to and addressed. As a politician, one hopes their message gets out while their indiscretions with flight attendants stay hidden, along with that secret love child they had with a wolf. As a political humorist, one hopes that no matter how troubling times may seem from moment to moment, people will always be able to find laughter in the situation. And as a manager of a coffee shop in Brooklyn, one hopes that times will never be so troubled that the political humorist you once foolishly employed as a barista will return looking for their old job again.
 
Obviously, there is more to the American democratic system than just those four individuals. You also have the media, the lobbyists, the protest groups, the unions, the action committees, the think tanks, the activists, the foreign business partners, the intergalactic business partners, the special-interest groups, the skeptics, the financial donors, the blood donors, the senior citizens, the public sector, the private sector, the Nigerian princes, the bureaucrats, the steering committees, Main Street, Wall Street, and ghosts. All with their own needs and the hope that their voices will drown out yours. And for the right price, it can.
 
For as wonderful as America is, it is a country where we still make people vote in November to accommodate farmers from a hundred and fifty years ago who probably still won’t make it to the polls in time because they are either dead or vampires. Vampire Farm: coming to the CW next fall.
 
It runs on a political system whose parties are represented by animals that tend to stink up barns and circuses and usually spend most of their time swatting away the filthy gnats that are attracted to them. The same is true of politicians. The floors of the Capitol Building get hosed down every night to keep the senators from getting hoof and mouth.
 
It’s a place where the state of Texas is at the bottom of high- school graduation rates, but gets to dictate what goes into the country’s textbooks because the other forty-nine states need its delicious chili recipes. If you are reading this and you graduated from a school in Texas—good job. Next time, try it without sounding the words out loud.
 
It’s a country where people are scared to sit next to a Muslim on an airplane, but have no problem if that Muslim drives them home from the airport . . . so long as he avoids the Midtown Tunnel. If you’re reading this while in a cab, don’t look up! They’re probably watching you.
 
It’s a country where a football team with a mascot of a Native American man could play a team whose mascot is a colonial soldier in the Super Bowl, and even if they won, afterward they’d still be called the Redskins.
 
But for all of the problems in this country, it’s still a country that people love for its hope. It is the hope that we can strive to be better as individuals and as a whole, and, if not, then we can at least afford to import better individuals who will in turn inspire us to be better or marry us for green cards.
 
One of the things that makes this country great is the ability to learn from our mistakes, laugh at them, publish them on the Inter- net, and then collect them in book form to be sold to rubes. Not you. The person who bought it for you.
 
This book is filled with some of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency’s finest humor from both regular contributors and guest contributors who decided to slum it in the land of the written word.
And it is my hope that you find this book funny. I haven’t read it. I’m waiting for someone to gift it to me. I hope I’ll enjoy it.

Table of Contents

FOREWORD
Wyatt Cenac

My America: A New Action Movie Screenplay by Sarah Palin
Wendy Molyneux

Presidential Stats
Simon Rich

From the Diary of John Adams
Peter Krinke

An Anti-Washington Candidate’s Stump Speech
Pete Reynolds

My 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 Plan
Ellie Kemper

Where Is the Rest of This Graph?
Ben Greenman

The Only Thing That Can Stop This Asteroid Is Your Liberal Arts Degree
Mike Lacher

Debate for Emperor of the Upsilon Sigma Star System
Teddy Wayne

Vote Yes on SPLOST 5
Lucas Klauss

Barack Obama’s Undersold 2012 Campaign Slogans
Nathaniel Lozier

A Comprehensive List of Third- Place Finishers for U.S. President, 2008–2036
David Warnke

The Lesser-Known Slogans of Political Moderates
Kate Johansen and Katie Bukowski

Three Timelines of the American Financial Meltdown Told Through R. L. Stine Book Titles
Matthew Gillespie

Fragments from BAILOUT! THE MUSICAL
Ben Greenman

Political Decision-Making in the New Century
Sean Carman

Former CIA Director George Tenet’s Other Excuses
Christopher Monks

A Message from a TSA Full-Body Scanner
Jesse Adelman

A Guest Columnist Still Getting the Hang of It
Ellie Kemper

Extended Trailer for American Demographic 2012
Pete Reynolds

Your Attempts to Legislate Against Hunting Man for Sport Reek of Class Warfare
Mike Lacher

Little Housing Crisis on the Prairie
Susan Schorn

Atlas Shrugged Updated for the Financial Crisis
Jeremiah Tucker

Noises That Select Political Pundits Would Make If They Were Wild Animals Instead of Political Pundits
John Warner

Donald Rumsfeld: Love Doctor
Stephen Elliott

Parallels Between My Living Through Two Years of Middle School and the Two Terms of George W. Bush’s Presidency
Teddy Wayne

Republican S&M Safe Words
Nathan Pensky

Fragments from WEINER! THE MUSICAL
Ben Greenman

Someday My Concession Speech Will Be Read by Schoolchildren
Jim Stallard

Starting Over with Pat Nixon
Tom Gliatto

How You Voted
Jonathan Stern

30 and Pregnant
Rachel Friedman

I’m Afraid the Children Are Our Future
John Moe

How Superior Each Bar Feels to the Others
Ben Greenman

Classic Nursery Rhymes, Updated and Revamped for the Recession, as Told to Me by My Father
Jen Statsky

The Adventures of Right- Wing Conservative Robin Hood
Sarah Rosenshine

Two Medieval Physicians Debate Universal Health Care
Blair Becker

The Twenty-First Century Adventures of Tintin
Neil Graf

Youth Culture Findings
Dan Kennedy

April Fools’ Day Pranks to Play on an Unemployed Twentysomething Male Who Still Lives at Home with His Parents
Christopher Monks

Your Protest Signs Are Too Specific
Alan Trotter

Less Powerful Industry Lobbying Groups
Todd Rovak

Fragments from PALIN! THE MUSICAL
Ben Greenman

Marxist- Socialist Jokes
Jesse Eisenberg

What If Germany Won the War?
Mike Sacks

Metroid ’s Samus Aran Speaks Out About Gay Marriage
Marco Kaye

Abstinence-Only Driver’s Ed
Suzanne Kleid

A 1980s Teen Sex Comedy Becomes Politically Uncomfortable
Andrew Golden

For a Yellow Brick Wall
Mike Gallagher

The Stability of Data
Ben Greenman

How Bernanke Tackled the Depression, As Recorded 150 Years from Now by Post-Apocalyptic Hobo Folklorists
Grant Munroe

Ron Paul Gives a Guided Tour of His Navajo Art Collection
Jeremiah Tucker

Tribal Matters
Jim Stallard

Early Drafts of Patrick Henry’s Revolutionary Proclamation “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!”
Sam Weiner

Unpublished Federalist Papers
Maggie Ryan Sandford

Crate & Barrel Tableware Style+U.S. President=Fictional Delta Blues Singer
Josh Michtom

Patriotic Laundry Metaphors
Doogie Horner

Quiz: Rumsfeld Memoir Chapter Title or German Heavy Metal Song?
David Rees

The Next Wave: Candidate Product Placement
Pete Reynolds

Occupy Main Street!
Teddy Wayne

Operation Middle Class: A Fearful Rich Man’s Rules for Survival in an Increasingly Populist World
Luke Kelly-Clyne

I Will
Henry Alford

Word Problems for Future Hedge Fund Managers
Bob Woodiwiss

Mom’s and Dad’s Campaign Statements
Gregory Beyer

I Probably Shouldn’t Have Opted for the Cheapest HMO
Jim Stallard

Presidents Who Could Also Be Strippers
Noel Wood

State Rules
Colin Perkins

Great Quotes from the End of NASA’s Space Shuttle Era
Jim Santel

Things JFK Might Ask You to Ask Not Today
Kate Hahn

The Songs of Lenin and McCarthy
Jimmy Chen

Fragments from WIKILEAKS! THE MUSICAL
Ben Greenman

The Elements of Press Release Style
Gary Klien

Which Flavor of Ice Cream Do You Want, Daddy?
Miles Kahn

Aesop’s Fables Teach Children the Art of Voter Suppression
Andrew Golden

This Recession Has Spared No One, Not Even the Mythical and Folkloric Figures of Our Collective Western Imagination
Henry Alford and Ryan Haney

POLL: Do I Fully Understand the Concept of Margin of Error?
Ben Greenman

A Letter from the U.S. Department of Education Regarding the Birth of Your First Child
Mark Brownlow

Important Details About Your New Health Care Plan
Dan Kennedy

Robert Gibbs’s Dungeons & Dragons Game Goes Off the Rails
Travis Watt

The Labors of Unemployed Hercules
Luke Burns

Templates to the Editor
Bob Woodiwiss

Slightly Less-Cited Supreme Court Decisions
Rob Kutner

Archaic U.S. Senate Procedures
Lucas Klauss

Congressional Missed Connections
Sloan Schang

Chapter Titles for Rachel Carson’s 1962 Book Silent Spring That Were Rejected for Being Too Alarmist
Caredwen Foley

Fragments from HOT PLANET! THE MUSICAL
Ben Greenman

Recycle, Compost, or Trash? A Guide
Jenny Shank

Pickman’s Chicken Farm Is Now Cruelty-Free
Zack Poitras

Create Your Own Thomas Friedman Op-Ed Column
Michael Ward

The Gahhh! Institute
Lucas Klauss

Eyewitness News with Tom Denardo and Cheryl Clayburn
Seth Reiss

How Much I Had to Manipulate the Data to Make It Seem Like Things Were Looking Up
Ben Greenman

Little-Known Facts from the Guinness Book of World Records
Simon Rich

Ongoing Roadblocks in the Mongoose-Cobra Peace Talks
Bob Woodiwiss

The Girls of The Hills Visit Afghanistan
Wendy Molyneux

David Brooks Also Eats Cereal
John Warner

A Straw Poll of Issues on Voters’ Minds for This Upcoming Election, Based Only on the Conversation Initiations of the Morose Security Guard Who Sits in the Lobby of the Building Where I Work
Ryan Haney

Photo Ops to Gain More Than 50% of the Electorate
David Hart

Dance Dance Revolution
Matthew Bonnan

Actual Subject Lines of E-mails I’ve Received from Barack Obama’s Campaign That Sound Like He’s Asking Me Out and Then Breaking Up with Me
Sarah Walke

Fragments from SANTORUM! THE MUSICAL
Ben Greenman

Spreading the Good Word: A Missionary’s Guide
Wendy Molyneux

The 700 Club Does the Weather
Alex Kane

The First American Bidding War
Susan Schorn

The Front Porch Campaign, 1880
Chris White

Perhaps Now You Wish You Had Paid Closer Attention to Your Judicial Candidates for County Circuit Court!
Mike Lacher

Ordinary Circle or Pie Chart?
Ben Greenman

This Is a Reelection Campaign Stop, Not a Labor Day Weekend Beach Vacation
Ryan Haney

Laura Wingfi eld from The Glass Menagerie on the 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates
Kate Hahn

No Country for Anyone
John Warner

The Latest Deals from LivingCapitalist
Pete Reynolds

Voter Segments to Watch This Year
Sloan Schang

Accusations Leveled At a Dolphin Running for President
Eric Feezell

God Texts the Ten Commandments
Jamie Quatro

New Fears for the Twenty-First Century
Hannah Tepper

Fragments from STRONG GOVERNMENT! THE MUSICAL
Ben Greenman
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About McSweeney's

McSweeney's - The McSweeney's Book of Politics and Musicals
McSweeney’s is a publishing company based in San Francisco. As well as running the daily humor website McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, McSweeney’s publishes McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, the Believer, Lucky Peach, Wholphin, Grantland Quarterly, and an ever-growing selection of books under various imprints.
Praise

Praise

“Only McSweeney’s could combine politics and theater in such a strange, amusing way.” —Los Angeles Times
 
“Pokes fun at all manner of political persuasion, often in a tone reminiscent of Mad magazine—that is, mangled lyrics—but minus a tune to follow. . . . Jolly good fun.” —Leonard Kniffel, Booklist

  • The McSweeney's Book of Politics and Musicals by Edited by Chris Monks of McSweeney's Internet Tendency
  • June 26, 2012
  • Humor - Political; Humor
  • Vintage
  • $14.95
  • 9780307387349

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