"The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now—with somebody—and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives.”
-Hunter S. Thompson for ESPN.com on 9/12/01
Gather around and let me tell you about the time I read the worst book ever written …
I was stuck in the middle of East Jesus Nowhere covering a rodeo for a non-profit organization bent on exposing them for their cruel treatment of animals. A steer roping contestant came up to a long time member of the organization and asked him why we were here filming when women were aborting babies and people were starving in impoverished countries. The activist responded by asking him how make-believe cowboys abusing cattle and horses for entertainment was helping the world. The cowboy didn’t have a concise answer. He just gave the activist a copy of his book and grumbled about spreading the world of God to his fellow contestants. He probably muttered something else about tradition and defending family values, but I wasn’t listening. I learned very quickly that men in small town USA won’t address me directly unless they’re in the process of assaulting me.
I don’t know why I wanted to read the book. I guess witnessing this exchange made me wonder what life would be like if I was born to a purebred, God-fearing, flag-waving American rodeo family instead of to my lower middle class parents who let me form my own political beliefs and allowed me to have friends that weren’t white Christians.
After reading this book I can certifiably guarantee that I would have blown my brains out shortly after taking my first steps.
Redemptive Guilt comes to you via the imagination of a Tea Party republican addicted to Fox News and hating gay people. Countless mentions of liberal policy makers ruining America allows me to assume the book is set sometime between 2008 and 2012. The opening chapter follows the day of a national news network broadcast journalist on a business trip in Paris. A couple chapters later the book spirals into two piles of characters: the angelic (mostly Republican) individuals who have found, are helping others find or are currently finding Jesus, and the depraved (mostly gay) liberals ruining the country.
Oh I forgot there’s a third group of characters—the brown people. These characters, who the author makes very clear aren’t white by repeatedly mentioning their race, are mostly either kindly black folk who help the heroic republicans or are Islamic terrorists. I can tell the author tried to show that he was accepting of other races—ones that aren’t Arabic at least—but explaining that all of your characters of color have reformed from their checkered past and found Jesus or have sons in the NFL isn’t progressive. It’s still really fucking racist.
I don’t know if I feel stupider for having allowed the contents of this book into my mind or for not knowing people who believe this stuff actually exist.
In one scene an FBI agent is witnessing to another inside of an abandoned warehouse where they are detaining a suspected terrorist.
“‘I feel as though I am clean for the first time in my life. And I feel like you and I are equals, too. I can’t explain it Chace, but something did happen. I know I am the same person I was just a little bit ago, but something happened down deep inside of me. I just know it did.’” (207).
And boom just like that a conservative is born.
Moments later one of the agents starts reading Bible passages to the accused in order to break him because the agents can’t use their preferred methods.
"Methods they would have already used if the three American citizens didn’t fear their own politically correct justice system which has in previous years ruled these methods illegal."(232).
It’s disheartening knowing people actually think we should be able to torture people for answers … as if each time a terrorist plot would be foiled and American lives saved … that nothing would ever go wrong like tormenting innocent people into false confessions … and blah blah blah.
This wasn’t even the thing that bothered me most about story. The blatant us against them mentality is beyond my comprehension. There’s no grey area, there isn’t even a black area, it’s al bathed in the holy glow of God’s pure white glory.
I use to think the people I encountered at the rodeo were just drunk and upset about who I was there with and what they stood for, but no they’re really that worried about scheming leftists destroying their “culture.”
There isn’t any point in writing this book review. Redemptive Guilt was’t written to change any liberal minds.
Redemptive Guilt was written to play into the fears of people who were born and raised to fear what they don’t know. It’s a time honored apple pie tradition that isn’t changing anytime soon.
People like to live in fear because when those in fear come together they can happily exist in their ignorance and attack anybody who questions the right to their fear. They can develop their own rules and yell those rules loud enough to become law, Gods will, Jesus power … whatever one makes more sense when talking about things like abortion and terrorism.
I’ll admit I don’t hate this book simply because the author is completely delusional—it’s also terribly written. McBride didn’t finely craft this novel he regurgitated it onto a computer screen and sent it off to some publishing company I’m not even going to bother mentioning. It’s as if there was no advising process whatsoever. Basic details are often repeated multiple times in the same paragraph and his characters fall completely flat—other than knowing exactly what the color of their skin is and if they were a spineless liberal.
You really can’t get any worse than that.
Bottom line don’t read this book because it sucks.
Editor: “Sometimes I feel like 25 percent of my job is helping old ladies use computers.”