One of the more exciting gifts I received this weekend was Bill O'Reilly's Who's Looking Out For You?. At first I thought it was a joke. Since most of my family knows where I stand on issues of politics (but apparently doesn't read this blog), I assumed that people would know that you don't give people like me books by people like O'Reilly (especially for Christmas!). Afterall, you'd never consider giving your Jewish friend the Koran with the implication that he should read it because he might be so surprised at what he reads that he would consider converting. This, I believe, was the subversive message of my brand new O'Reilly book. (BTW, You try smiling as you talk about how you can't wait to read it in front of 20 people!!) Anyway, because I have a soapbox from which to ridicule it, I've decided to actually read the book. Shouldn't take more than the 4 hour plane ride I'm about to embark on since its dimensions are 14 font, 1/2 inch spacing between lines, and 2 inch margins. And if I skim through the self-indulging, I can probably finish it before we take off. I've actually started reading it (last night, over a dish of falafel), and was surprised at O'Reilly's witty sense of humor, like this from page 3:
If you are going to drink a quart of bourbon a day or smoke crack, this book is not going to help you. In fact, if you are in the above category, you've probably stolen this book. Give it back. Now.

Or this, from page 8:
There is no question that our society has now embraced the casual approach when it comes to having children. Columnist Kathleen Parker nailed it. "Today having a baby is like swinging through McDonald's for a burger. One baby all the way, hold the dad."

And please, spare me the jokes about Bill "You Have Really Spectacular Boobs" O'Reilly's Middle Eastern food fetish and infidelity. O'Reilly is pure class, as illustrated on page 29:
Years ago I was friends with a fellow broadcaster. Because we were both single and liked the ladies, we had some great times.
See, "had some great times." Nothing to worry about, that is, unless you look like Halle Berry (page 59):
Now, I rarely go to parties, primarily because I am not often invited. I think we all know why. Also, I'm not much of a schmoozer unless you look like Halle Berry.
Inbetween these humorous gems, O'Reilly does a good job of talking about himself. A lot. And when he isn't talking about himself, he does a very shrewd job of painting himself as a politically independant Everyman, that (you guessed it) is looking out for you! One thing that I've noticed about O'Reilly's writing is that he does seem to criticize both Republicans and Democrats, but he does so in a way that the criticisms of Republicans are petty (e.g. Bush works too hard at what he does, so don't expect him to change much), whereas the criticisms of Democrats are more damaging. (e.g. Clintons caused 9/11). I don't think it is particularly honest, especially for such a "fair and balanced" guy like O'Reilly, but I didn't really expect a whole lot more. Finally, O'Reilly is incredibly gifted at constructing strawmen and easily knocking them down. He valiantly argues for things like better families, as though anybody would honestly argue against that (in O'Reilly's world, it is the Clinton's and liberals who argue against these things). As for myself, I can't wait to read the chapter on how cheating on your wife and kids with a co-worker leads to a closer family. If I can stand to, I'll write more about the second half of the book later. I'd also like to point out that I extended an invitation to watch Fahrenheit 9/11 or borrow another book of my choosing to the person who gave me the O'Reilly book. Of course, as you might imagine, that was an excercise in futility.