Book Review: Young Dick Cheney: Great American
Who is a less caring person than Dick Cheney? Think about it a few moments and the names you can come up with live in the annals of political and global horror. They are loved by only the sickest people on the planet. Or academics.
It's hard to think on that too much without becoming melancholy and a touch depressed. That's where Young Dick Cheney: Great American (Alternet Books) comes in. The authors, Bruce Kluger and David Slavin, offer a comprehensive and expansive detailed narrative of Cheney's childhood - in a fictional, mocking way.
Go into this book, expecting to laugh and expecting a simple approach to satire. Thankfully, the only things tortured here are puns and your groan muscles.
Who'da thunk that a person could read about Dick Cheney and enjoy it?
Young Dick Cheney offers a respectful look at the Cheney years from birth to soul death - a span of about 18 years.
Respectful of the truth, naturally, not the man.
This underrated expose on Dick Cheney's Nebraska childhood and formative years offers a keen insight into what branded the current vice-president a real Dick. It wasn't just the Lazy Eight Fork to the rear.
The authors describe their pocket-sized work as an "inspiring and sometimes even true childhood story of Richard B. Cheney, a secretive yet sensitive boy with a shoot-from-the-hip, shoot-in-the-face style all his own."
Best of all there's James Thurber-esque simple illustrations by rather than photos so readers don't get that Gorgon effect of looking into his eyes and having all their emotions irreversibly turn to stone.
Young Dick Cheney does not, however, offer any details on how he received his training as a Sith Lord.
BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN
Just in time to laugh, not cry, comes this over-the-top and mercifully short book. It achieves the near impossible by making you feel sorry for the guy - the fake guy in the book, anyway.
Child abuse, neglect, isolation, murder nor prostitution feature in Dick's childhood. No, those all came later in life, during his time in government.
From the book's dedication to the Constitution and the Ativa SX180D shredder, the book offers straightforward fictionalized biography with wickedly clever one liners strung end to end. Phrases and passages cause a variety of reactions from snorting recognition of humor ("The brutal blizzard that beat down on Lincoln the night of Young Dick's birth was somehow different. For one thing it was July.") to moments that bring tears to your eyes and sweat glands.
This passage gives a flavor of the humor, a mixture of subtle and in-your face (oh, sorry) at the same time.
Bundling up Young Dick in the business section from that morning’s newspaper, Jedediah and Mary Todd began the long journey home with their new child - walking down the straw path that led from his stable, then trudging through the deep midsummer snow that carpeted the seven-mile road that led out of town.We get Dick's puppeteering hobby later used to good effect with US Presidents, his tendency to shoot mothers, friends and postman in the face, roustabouts with friends Donny and Scooter, his preference for working away from the spotlight, and his early addiction to oil which manifests itself into a pre-teen ground sniffing career and a desire to lay waste to nature.
The moment the Cheneys stepped through their front door, the proud new parents got back to work. Mary Todd resumed her chores - finishing the wood-splitting she’d started before she went into labor, preparing the family meal, mopping up her amniotic fluid - while Jedediah placed Dick in a hickory crib that he’d carved from scraps of wood he’d found behind Clem Cullen’s casket factory.
As the weary couple dug into a warm supper of possum and root stew, Young Dick lay on his back in his new cradle, staring at the ceiling, his eyes open and unblinking.
Deep within the forests that surrounded the Cheney homestead, wolves howled into the dark night sky.
And those are just the true parts, obviously.
Here's a final passage illustrating how Dick got his direction and purpose in life:
One sunny spring day when Dick was four years old, he was playing in his front yard with a beach ball. A gift from his parents, the inflatable sphere was painted to resemble the earth, and Young Dick took great delight in making it bounce any way he wanted it to. He also liked kicking it around.It's funny and a stress-leaving read. Some of the jokes are easy but still ridiculously funny. Buy this one, take a bottle, drink it down, and pass it around. It's a quick burst of humor, and with Cheney's popularity as an adult at 15 percent, most everyone you know will enjoy Young Dick ...
Suddenly, the ball took a wild spin and rolled off in the direction of the driveway, coming to a stop beneath the back wheels of Mr. Cheney’s ’38 Packard.
Crawling beneath the car for the ball, Young Dick was startled by a sudden reflection. Just beneath the tail pipe, the sun illuminated a small, sparkling black puddle, creating the most beautiful rainbow Young Dick had ever seen. He was drawn to it, like a kitten to a dish of really dark milk.
Dick slid on his belly, closer to the inky slick. He smelled it - it was sweet and inviting. He touched it - it was wet and silky. Then he tasted it.
Suddenly the cramped space beneath the Packard seemed to glow, as if lit by the heavens above. Sprawled on his stomach and breathing heavily, Young Dick swore he could hear music - just like the songs of worship he heard every Sunday at St. Agnes’ Weeping Face of Christ Pentecostal Church. A tingle of excitement ran up his short, thick legs.
Tossing aside the earth ball, Young Dick slithered out from under the car and darted inside.
“Pa!” he shouted, bursting into the parlor and thrusting his hand beneath his father’s face. “I found this under your car! What is it?”
Jedediah took a long look at his son’s moist black finger, then smiled.
“Why, that’s oil, son,” he said. “You know: Black gold. Texas tea.”
Young Dick looked confused.
“It’s what makes cars run,” he continued patiently. “And tractors. And aeroplanes. And machines. It’s found underground, all over the earth. And people pay millions of dollars for it.”
That was when Young Dick Cheney had his first heart attack.
Try not to be too depressed by the unhappy ending we've all been witness to.
Book Review: Young Dick Cheney: Great American
- » Published on April 22, 2008
- » Type: Review
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