Man Bites Town: Notes of a Man Who Doesn't Take Notes

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Harry Shearer, with his sharp eye for whats ridiculous or fabulous, overblown or undervalued, has been one of the most consistently provocative, thoughtful, & funny commentators on the American scene for more than 20 years. Along with being a famous performer, he has been a columnist for the L.A. Times Magazine, where he took on everyone from Madonna to Daryl Gates, & everything from the mens movement to breast implants. This book, a collection of these columns, is a rich, funny, & smart slice of ...
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Overview

Harry Shearer, with his sharp eye for whats ridiculous or fabulous, overblown or undervalued, has been one of the most consistently provocative, thoughtful, & funny commentators on the American scene for more than 20 years. Along with being a famous performer, he has been a columnist for the L.A. Times Magazine, where he took on everyone from Madonna to Daryl Gates, & everything from the mens movement to breast implants. This book, a collection of these columns, is a rich, funny, & smart slice of American life that provides a unique blend of wry skepticism, intelligent analysis, & comic exuberance.
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Editorial Reviews

Joe Collins
Los Angeles is one of those places it seems no one is from, and the town has long been maligned as La-La Land and "land of the fruits and nuts." But native Harry Shearer, in his weekly columns for the "Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine", becomes a kind of a spokesman for the city, because, as the song says, he loves L.A.! Shearer is a cynical TV and film mainstay ("Saturday Night Live," "This Is Spinal Tap", and currently a multitude of voices on "The Simpsons"), but he has a soft spot for ol' Tinseltown, and his clever opinions on issues both local and global usually hit the target. He's at his funniest when marveling at the world's absurdities (the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, the toilet museum, and the ubiquitous Madonna), but he also makes a few cogent comments on race relations, the "men's movement," why California is always short of water, and the recession. It's a great book to jump in and out of and pick up a few bon mots along the way, but the title is a little misleading--Shearer's obvious affection for his city leads one to believe the title could have been "Man Gums Town". A number of references to formerly newsworthy David Duke will lead you to reset your personal wayback machine to a couple of years ago, and even though Shearer provides his own tart alternative to embattled L.A. police chief Daryl Gates' retirement speech, the columns obviously ended right before last spring's riots, thus denying us any of Shearer's thoughts on his city in flames.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312088422
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/8/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 236

Table of Contents

Introduction
1 Truth in Airporting 1
2 I Live, Therefore I Drive 5
3 We Are Not a Crook 9
4 This Column Kills Fascists 13
5 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Poppies 17
6 The Age of Minimallism 21
7 Buy Me a River 25
8 Gilding the Throne 29
9 If You Lived Here, You'd Be Homeless Now 33
10 The Inevitable Column about the Writer's Favorite Sport 37
11 The Limits of No Limits (Do the Funky Plotkin) 41
12 They Shall Beat Their Swords into Live-action Stunt Shows 45
13 Watch 'Til It Hurts 49
14 See You at the Phi Delt Reunion 53
15 A Pinch of Hustle, Easy on the Bustle 57
16 Restaurants, from Rest to Rant 61
17 Who's Afraid of 525 Lines? 65
18 Race: A Class Act 69
19 Is Everybody Here on a Mission from God? 73
20 Bright Ideas #1: Keep It Moving 77
21 "Would I Have to Be Animated?" 81
22 Let's Watch a War 85
23 Chief Gates's Final Speech: The First Draft 89
24 Don't Trust Anyone in the Spit Puppies 93
25 Yeah, I'm an American, Buddy. Wanna Fight? 97
26 Caught in the Malestrom 101
27 Seven-eighths Actual Size 105
28 What's That Smell? 109
29 I Hereby Declare Your Home Blighted 113
30 East Meets South 117
31 Talkin' Trash 121
32 The Immaterial Girl 125
33 The Trouble with June 129
34 It's All in the Head 133
35 Let's All Talk Nice 137
36 Are Our Bananas Too Ripe? 140
37 Making the World Safe for Rand-McNally 144
38 The Other Inevitable Column About the Writer's Favorite Sport, with Poignant Subtext 147
39 "Rosey Grier Cradled His Head Right Next to This Stove" 151
40 Progress Is Our Most Important Problem 155
41 Smoke Gets in Your Rights 159
42 PACs Americana 163
43 Bright Ideas #2: More Water, More Tires, More Lanes 167
44 California, There You Go 171
45 One Woman's "Poison" Is Another Man's Poison 175
46 Two Sammys (No Waiting) and the Laughing Deaf Mutes 179
47 Tell Me Less 183
48 At Least in Cockfights, One Cock Really Wins 186
49 The Boss Is In, but the Staff Is in Charge 189
50 This Is the First Column in the Rest of This Book 193
51 Is Economics Giving Voodoo a Bad Name? 196
52 And Besides, Tom Brokaw Still Can't Pronounce the Letter L 199
53 A Poll Apart 203
54 Tired of the Tired and Poor 207
55 The City as Kilroy/Art for Santa Monica's Sake 211
56 What to Do After You've Won the Nobel Prize and Lost Your Job 215
57 Bright Ideas #3: You Buy Some Nukes, You Sell Some Boat Slips 218
58 Dow Lets You Make Big Things 221
59 If We're So Good, Why Do We Feel So Bad? 224
60 Thank You for Serving Me, Intel 486 227
61 Render unto Caesar the Palace That Is Caesar's 231
62 An Order of Rich, Please - Hold the Famous 234
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