From what began in the eyes of many Americans and people around the world as a mildly objectionable fluke in the unfolding of our nations History, that being the election and eventual acceptance of our current president George W. Bush, is a current state of American culture that has become much more worthy of social dissection and study than anyone might have been able to predict. After evidence of election scandals, questionable motives, secretive uncontested policy reforms, increased international aggression and disregard, a nepotistic centralization of neoconservatives in power, our comfortably controversial commander in chief is a product of America's social climate and he now shapes it with equal significance. Irreverently mocked by those who know better as 'Dubya' the president has been accosted by a slew of Bush Bashing authors, filmmakers and musicians since his ascension to the big house on the hill. Sore Winners (And the Rest of Us in George Bushes America)
, enters into the fray of that new born genre.
In Sore Winners the author John Powers illuminates various trends in popular culture and points out all the reasons why Dubya is the perfect commander for an era of sensational consumerism, reality television pandemonium, and a media that has forgotten about its duty to inform and check government power. Today's times allow for an Enron scandal to be banished from the public eye overnight while Martha Stuart's trial is drilled into our minds as the most prominent social issue of our time. What's the connection some may ask? It is for these people that books like Sore Winners may have the greatest resound.
Unlike many of the other more belligerent of Anti-Bush decriers, John Powers speaks with the wide range his background in sociopolitical journalism would endorse. Those who are interested in the state of our society but despise the ardent, and emotional attacks on corporate power, media deceit, and anti-war sentiments by authors such as Michael Moore will find a less fanatical magnifying glass in Powers' Sore Winners. The book is not a direct critique of the president and Bush himself serves more as its thread of continuity in Powers' social commentary of pop culture. Rather than asserting speculative should haves, could haves, and need tos, Sore Winners replays and repaints events or ideas that define our time. From the implications of "The O'Reily Factor", to the success of epic fantasy films and superhero blockbusters of recent years, to the proliferation of social Darwinian reality shows like Survivor
or The Apprentice
Rather than making Bush a Martyr and crucifying him where he stands Powers assembles a giant patchwork collage of all the quirky, sometimes ridiculous, but mostly horrifying transpirations that materialize under his management, and asks you to question its integrity. Part of a presidents duty he surmises, is to bring the people of a nation together but "Bush World" instead seems to be fractious, and polarized. Though Power's speaks about the world he lives in with a seeming neutrality it is worth noting that there is a giant cutout picture of Dubya's face complete with patented dunderhead expression on the cover of his book; a more personal stab I would venture to guess, and one that doubles as a marketing technique to appeal to an audience who needs a poster child for their hatred.
Sore Winners is in general, a commentary on, and psychoanalysis of prominent trends, pop icons, public figures, and current events that bespeak a new American environment. Overall Powers' ruminations are broad and important and he writes with a respectable wit, humor, and eloquence. Sore Winners is a Doubleday publication and is available at all major book stores and from Doubleday online.
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