AMERICAPEDIA: TAKING THE DUMB OUT OF FREEDOM (Walker, July 2011) kept me company at the doctor's office yesterday. Good thing since the wait was an hour and then there was another wait for lab tests to be done. Jodi Lynn Anderson (PEACHES), Daniel Ehrenraft (FRIEND IS NOT A VERB) and Andishe Nouraee have created nonfiction with bite and perhaps some bias. The volume combines lots of factual information about America with lots of word play and humorous asides and photos that play with language as well (A Facebook page for Jesus, Tom DeLay as puppet master at gerrymandering). While the label on the book says nonfiction, this is distinctly different from the run-of-the-mill nonfiction and much more reminiscent of The Daily Show's AMERICA, THE BOOK and Onion's ATLAS OF THE WORLD than a supplemental book for history and government classes. It is smart and funny and still manages to convey information teens should know (the difference between Sunni Shiite, for example). <94>
I would love to see this book actually used in classes to demonstrate to kids that there is much more to learn about America than what is in the history books (especially in Texas where last year our State Board of Education re-wrote history to suit their arch conservative ideology). Books like this and the other mentioned above and THE SMART ALECK'S GUIDE TO AMERICAN HISTORY by Adam Seltzer will, no doubt, lead to the creation of a new label. This is not nonfiction, but a hybridization of different aspects of nonfiction and humor (parody, satire, etc.). Anyone game for naming it?