Political correctness is the principal target of this collection of columns reprinted from U.S. News & World Report . Leo contends with our nation's more prickly social issues: censorship, racism (and reverse racism), sex education. He is most convincing in examining the politics of language, including the ``three languages of addiction, victimology, and political evasion,'' as well as what he calls ``journalese,'' ``feminese'' and even ``Bushspeak.'' Adding up the various victimized groups in the U.S., Leo notes wryly that ``America's victims exceed 1.2 billion, not bad for a population of only 251 million.'' His columns offer an odd sort of moderatism, with a number of essays deserving consideration, if not agreement. However, his disregard for society's margins seems particularly unenlightened. (July)
If satire and sarcasm could achieve victory against political correctness as easily as trumpets did against the walls of Jericho, Leo would be a modern Joshua. Those who have followed his column in U.S. News & World Report know that the annihilation of what he sees to be pomposities, fakes, frauds, and fatuities is his stock in trade. Leo goes in deep like a sharp, polished knife. The general drift of his arguments are politically and socially conservative; but even liberals should take time out to read him, if only just to discover how formidably armed the opposition is. Leo tells the truth as he sees it. It may not be everybody's truth, but no one who reads the book will fail to be provoked and/or stimulated. Strongly recommended.-A.J. Anderson, GSLIS, Simmons Coll., Boston
A curmudgeonly columnist collects his pieces from the past five years, focusing on the continuing contact points in the culture wars. Leo is firmly in the enough-already camp. He's had it with rights-bearing individuals litigiously beating common sense into submission (e.g., the banning of Yuletide creche and menorah displays); the rad-feminist elision of distinctions between authentic rape and the sloppy seconds of date rape; the boorish and sacrilegious anti-Catholic acts of militant gay rights entities such as Act-Up (breaking up a mass and throwing around condoms); and on and on. But unlike the insouciant saint of the Right, Rush Limbaugh, who seems more like a frustrated stand-up comic than a serious commentator, Leo works as a real journalist. He calls his subjects, prints their words, and adds his own thoughtful commentary. And all is not serious; the Newport cigarettes Alive with Pleasure ads irked him, inspiring him to a hilarious sequence of decoding their sexual innuendo. Leo's readers will enjoy these 100 shorts on the second go-around.
The author is editor of a weekly syndicated column "On Society" in US News and World Report. Most of the articles contained here were written between 1990 and 1994, but the new edition (previous, 1994--Simon & Schuster) includes a section of newer essays and a brief new introduction by the author. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.