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By H.P. Albarelli Jr. on April 15, 2010
BOOK REVIEW OF NAKED AT THE MIC / THE SURVIVAL OF A LIBERAL IN A TIME OF PERIL , PUBLISHED BY THE CORNERREPORT.COM
Post details: L.A. Steel: Naked at the Mic: The Survival of a Liberal in a Time of Peril L.A. Steel: Naked at the Mic: The Survival of a Liberal in a Time of Peril December 5th, 2010 by Gale Courey Toensing
Admit it: The daily horrors of the George Dubya Bush era are beginning to fade a little from memory.
Oh, sure, we remember the high points (if by ‘high points’ we mean the cringingly embarrassing or stupendously arrogant moments of Bush’s presidency) , the simplistic stupidity of “Either you’re with us or you’re against us ;”the unspeakable terror of shock and awe ; the bow-legged swagger of Mission Accomplished; the hilarious speech flubs like, I know how hard it is to put food on your family.
But who remembers the Thought Crime Prevention Act of 2007, aka the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act? Who still talks about Joe Biden’s unconscious racism in calling Barack Obama a fresh and clean young African American? Or Columbia President Lee Bollinger’s disgraceful treatment of the president of Iran, who was an invited guest speaker at the university?
Just as the hard-edge of memories of Bush’s eight-year Reign of Terror begin to dull in our overloaded brains, a new book is available to help hone our recollections of those heady days of phantom weapons of mass destruction, of known knowns, known unknowns, and the unknown knowns we wish we’d never known.
Naked at the Mic: The Survival of a Liberal in a Time of Peril by L.A. Steel is the kind of book you may want to read from cover to cover, but more likely it’s a book you’ll want to keep handy for a long time to dip into again and again until its cover is worn and its pages dog-eared.
Part rant, part revelation, this 350-plus page book documents L.A. Steel’s personal perspectives and insights on the political, social, anti-social and news events (and non events) of the domestic and international scenes during the Bush years from 2000 and beyond to 2009.
The book is divided into two large chunks. The first part, Naked at the Mic, is an autobiographical account of the establishment and survival of the L.A. Steel Liberal Radio Talk Show on a commercial radio station WQQQ-103FM in the rural northwest corner of Connecticut, during the (so far) most politically far right period in American history. The second part of the Book, Essays and Insights, includes 167 essays and insights selected from more than five hundred writings posted on L.A. Steel’s website — www.lasteelshow.org. The essays fall into the categories of national politics, international politics, satire, mainstream media, patriotism, and metaphysics.
The L.A. Steel Liberal Talk Radio Show began on March 4, 2003, as the Bush gang was cranking up fear, loathing, and blood-lust in the American public over the imminent invasion of Iraq, which brought the deaths and dispossession of more than six million Iraqis and the destruction of their ancient culture. L.A. Steel and his partner Leila Wood hit the air waves running with a biting criticism of the Bush regime and the coming war. Someone was listening. During the second show while Wood read a news item, L.A. Steel left the studio and went into the next room to answer the phone.
“Is this L.A. Steel?” the voice on the phone said. “You and your group should go to Iraq and have your tongues cut out and bleed in the streets. You’re full of shit and don’t have the balls to fight for your country.”
It was the first indication of the show’s coming success!
” We were steaming angry at all the conservative voices we were hearing every day,” L.A. Steel said. “When we started in 2003, nationwide there were very, very few liberal talk shows. We promoted ourselves as a liberal talk show and, oddly enough, almost immediately we became nationally known as one of the few liberal talk shows in the country, so a lot of publicists and media people contacted us and that’s how we started getting all the interviews with well known people.”
The materials in the book are culled from thousands of researched news articles from the mainstream and alternative press and hundreds of broadcast interviews from the radio show. The interviewees ranged in viewpoints from the iconic Ralph Nader, peace activist Cindy Sheehan, Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark to actor Ed Asner and the president of the John Birch Society.
Throughout the book, L.A. Steel comments and ruminates on a variety of subjects that are reflected in the chapter titles, among them: The Stupidity Surrounding the Iraq War, Jesus was a Liberal, The Assassination of Liberalism, Blue Collar Republicans, Tookie vs. the Terminator, Who to believe?, Financial Rocket Science, The Many Lives and Deaths of Abu Masab Al Zarqawi, I Thought Ariel Sharon Died?, John McCain: “The Wrinkly Old White Haired Dude”, and If I Were Palestinian.
The comments are funny, serious, satirical, sometimes over the top or bombastic, and always iconoclastic. Although L.A. Steel bills himself as a liberal he is quick to point out that his liberalism is not to be confused with big “D” Democratic Party politics.
“If you are a true believer and you have to believe in something you could do a whole lot better believing in the existence of reptilian aliens ruling the planet than believing in www.MoveOn.org, although they may be one and the same”, L.A. Steel writes.
On the behavior of the president of Columbia University toward Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, L.A. Steel writes: “Mr. (Lee) Bollinger is a national embarrassment. To introduce an invited guest speaker, a president of a foreign country, as a petty and cruel dictator is the extreme of political insults to a foreign head of state. That President Ahmadinejad did not walk off the stage and declare Bollinger an ignorant, bigoted Zionist Islamophobe, bowing to the pressure of his Zionist masters, was an example of his complete mastery of self control.”
Although L.A. Steel is adamantly not a Democrat, he voted for Barack Obama.
“Today I feel good,” he wrote on Nov. 5, 2008. “Today I feel hopeful, optimistic, and every other positive adjective that describes happiness… I am happy because I feel a great justice has been served by the American people. I feel happy because the intent of my vote for Barack Obama was honest, undiluted and completely emotionally inspired.”
A little more than a year later, however, his emotionally inspired vote had become a disappointment.
“As I end this book Barack Obama has just won the Nobel Peace Prize, NASA has bombed the moon, and the Ukrainian and Polish people are dying by the thousands by the world’s worst man-made plague. President Obama is deciding war strategy for Iraq and Afghanistan and possibly Iran. Liberals have won very little in their election of Barack Obama. . . But I just became a grand-uncle recently and Leila became a grandmother last year. I am worried for these children and all who are born into this world at such a difficult time in world history. So much will be asked of the new generation and so much will be given, but unless my generation opens its eyes to what is going on around us, our own faith in the future will soon be dashed by the reality of world war and global economic devastation.”
As scary as the present time is, liberals are quintessentially optimistic and L.A. Steel is no different.
“I retain my faith in the future because of people that are really outstanding saints, really, saints in activism and in continuing to fight and speak out against the injustices. There are good people regardless of their politics, who are working for justice. But there are some really fucked up people, some really sick, evil people and, unfortunately, a lot of them are in charge of our government, and those are the people that Leila and I just can’t stand,” L.A. Steel said.
L.A. Steel said he wrote Naked at the Mic to document what he saw and how he responded to it during this (ongoing) time of peril for liberals.
” All these people will be coming out with their books. Bush and Blair have already come out with theirs. Rumsfeld is coming out with a book next year. All of these books will be full of bullshit. I’m hoping my book will be read by many people. I wrote it as an indictment of the system. This is the stuff that I saw as it unfolded and I wrote about it the day it happened. My book was really written for posterity.”
Naked at the Mic is available at www.amazon.com. L.A. Steel can be reached at email@example.com — Gale Courey Toensing