Thursday, August 24, 2006

100 Ways America is Screwing Up the World

Posted on Thu, Aug 24, 2006 at 4:00 AM

100 Ways America is Screwing Up the World
Publishing House: Harper Perennial
Rated: NONE
WorkNameSort: 100 Ways America is Screwing Up the World
Of course America is screwing up the world, and now we have the work of the executive director of MIT's Center of International Studies to tell us exactly how. With a Howard Zinn introduction! No, I'm not kidding. Playing almost perfectly to type ' at least the type manufactured by grunting Republican hard-liners ' Tirman lazily trots out an astonishingly predictable list. Consisting of global sins (the Puritan ethic, Christianity, consumerism and other things that are far from the sole purview of the U.S.) and distinctly American ones (patio furniture, Las Vegas, gangster rap), Tirman's litany will be aggravating to all but the most strident and philosophically immature liberal and, of course, straight-up fodder for those right-wingers who insist that lefties hate America. (Tirman does allow for 10 things America does right, most of which are completely mitigated by various of the other 100 entries.) However, the book's primary failure is as, well, a book. Tedious, predictable and cursorily researched, 100 Ways comes off more like a chat in a coffeehouse (the Dutch kind) than a serious analysis of this country's global influence.


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