Still reading feverishly about the ongoing financial crisis; next up is Matt Taibbi’s Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America. Taibbi’s books and articles for Rolling Stone are in the grand muckraking tradition that combines a comprehensive command of the facts, close attention to the unfolding stories that really matter (as opposed to the distractions offered by the powers-that-be to divert our attention from their activities), a healthy (in both senses) dose of cynicism, and a profanely impassioned devotion to both the unvarnished truth and the rights of the little guy.
This latest offering conveys Taibbi’s characteristic mixture of outrage at the perversions and venality of America’s ruling class — albeit mixed with a kind of grudging half-admiration for the ingenuity with which that class maintains its privileges — and head-shaking chagrin at the fecklessness of the ruled, whose misplaced passions make them such easy marks for the grifters who rule them. Chapter One offers a perceptive diagnosis of the Tea Party phenomenon, and why it is destined to fail to deliver on the dream of an Ayn-Randian utopia on Earth for its followers. Chapter Two, which I am just starting, is titled “The Biggest Asshole in the World”. Any guesses who that might be? Read the book to find out – it’s worth it, I promise!