The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book) Teacher’s Edition: A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction (
My original statement that America the original was "without a doubt, one of the most brilliant pieces of political satire ever written," still holds true. The writing, commentary and biting humor in this parody of a high school textbook contains some of the sharpest wit I’ve read in years. Unfortunately, with a few funny exceptions, the new Teacher’s Edition - while offering plenty of red-marked additions- brings little to the table in terms of humor we’ve come to expect from Jon Stewart and The Daily Show staff.
Offered up on the principle that this edition has been "corrected" by Stanley Schultz, History Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin (whether or not this man actually exists is not the point - I think he does, but it’s Jon Stewart... who knows and who cares?), this new edition is full (and I mean FULL) of very carefully-written red penned corrections, additions and suggestions for making the information more accurate. And while the additions fill-up much of the extra space, unlike The Daily Show writers, Professor Schultz is not so funny.
In fact, Professor Shultz’ writings are too serious - as if a real teacher went through the book and corrected everything that readers know (or can at least guess) is clearly false, thereby removing the humor from the book while at the same time doubling the amount of time it takes to read it. What was originally a brilliant coffee table book and conversation starter (not to mention a riot to read) is now a sad attempt at additional humor that falls flat on its face.
If the re-publishing of America is simply an attempt at making more money, I’m sure they’ll succeed. Let’s hope however that it’s not a foreshadowing of things to come or Mr. Stewart is going to have some seriously pissed-off fans.
Take my word for it - if you don’t have the original hardcover, get it now. If you do, reread it and don’t even bother with this one.
by Jon Stewart and The Writers of The Daily Show
Warner, 228 pages, $15.99
Jason Salzenstein is a writer and editor; design, image, and marketing consultant; and professional shopper. His work has appeared in numerous national and international publications and he has clients around the world. For more information :: www.JasonSalzenstein.com