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September 07, 2005 - Image 46

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-07

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4D - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2005

ARTS

CITIZEN

'Guide'

covers the

STEWART
WITH NEW BOOK,
'DAILY SHOW' CAST

ins and outs of sex
By Bernie Nguyen
SEPTEMBER 20,2004
Daily Staff Writer

SATIRIZES

AMERICA

By Steve Cotner
OCTOBER 22, 2005
Daily Staff Writer
The persona of Jon Stewart has become short-
hand for a certain irony. His name no longer belongs
to one cynical comic, or even to a TV show, but to

It would seem that in modern American soci-
ety there is a need for an instruction manual for
every aspect of life: gardening, sports and even
love. The only problem for the average inept

reader is finding one that is
both accurately written and
interesting to read. That's
one problem that readers
of Paul Joannides's "Guide
to Getting It On" will not
encounter.

Guide to
Getting It On
By Paul Joannides
Goofy Foot Press

a lens that can be turned on
anything. It was inevitable,
given this power, that Stewart
would expand beyond nightly
fake news and become an
ironist of everything. This is
what "America (The Book): A
Citizen's Guide to Democracy
Inaction" has achieved, by vir-
tue of acting like it hasn't.
Its principle technique is
to mask the approach, so that
the delivery comes like an

America
the Book: A
Citizen's
Guide to
Democracy
Inaction
Edited by Jon
Stewart
Warner Books

Courtesy of Comedy Central

We're not as funny as we used to be ... ha ha ha.

ambush, be it a joke or a hard truth. The approach
here is a civics textbook, but the reader soon finds
a history of prehistoric man, "Marbury's Head v.
Madison's Rock," a look into the future, "Robots
Everywhere," and a survey of the rest of the world,-
"By the time you finish reading this sentence, three
million more Chinese people will have been born."
The rest of the book is the lesson on democracy
it purports to be, but every serious entry is couched
within a ruse. The reader only learn the true Pream-
ble after reading Jefferson's first attempt: "AMER-
ICA. A is for All the tea they taxed, M is for the
Minutemen they shellaxed."
The United State's worst characteristics are

dredged up by flippant humor. It would be a big task
to count all the references to slaughtered indigenous
peoples. or misguided wars. The book hits easy tar-
gets like an inefficient Congress,
but it also finds a way to voice
real criticisms.
In the section about the
Middle East, there is an empty
outline of the region with an
invitation to draw one's own
boundaries: "Don't be afraid to
group people with no regard for
history and ethnicity. It worked
for the British and French!
Invent new countries and create
interesting and fresh conflicts!"
The joke succeeds by its open
irony, but there is a sense of
dread underlying the appeal to
American apathy.
Elsewhere, the reader finds
the corporate terror of media synergy condensed
into diagram form, with the Disney illusion busted
by "Ever wish upon a star? We own 3,459 actual

Y
; r
to 3Ps

stars. Have one. No, have two." And another kind
of terror, the policy enacted at Abu Ghraib, is shown
in a pic alongside a Viet Cong execution, child coal
workers and a vampire space
baby with the tagline, "Which
jCclassic example of photojournal-
ism most gnaws at your soul?"
Throughout the book, irony
opens up into something more
potent. Outside of the book, too,
Stewart is speaking candidly,
more as himself than as the
persona. In an appearance on
CNN "Crossfire" with conser-
vative Tucker Carlson, the two
reached an impasse that Stewart
would not salvage with comedy:
"I'm not going to be your mon-
key." Stewart has been told by
Emmys and ratings that he has
something no one else has. Now,
the book and the resultant cachet have handed him
the mantle of modern truth-teller. Here's hoping that
he treats it well.

The "Guide" is a thick tome of 730 pages (not
including the index and glossary of sexual terms),
with an easy-to-read typeset and a wealth of graph-
ic, well-drawn illustrations for visual learners. No
topic is taboo and all subjects are discussed in-
depth. From basic human anatomy and romance
tips to the exploration of lesser-known sexual
territory, Joannides expertly crafts a humorous
manual that entertains while it teaches.
Besides the basics of sexual intercourse, Joan-
nides also goes into social commentary about
the state of sexual affairs today. His discussion
of Barbie as a sexual icon, for example, includes
various viewpoints from experts as well as lay-
men to offer a broad spectrum. Letters from
readers and fans, asking questions and telling
stories about sex, provide anecdotal relief.
The "Guide" is witty, satirical and above all
readable. With chapter titles like "Men's Under-
wear - The Fruit in Your Loom," Joannides
maintains humor with incredible ease, which
lightens the weighty topic under discussion. He
also provides the readers with many laugh-out-
loud moments that make the book all the more
enjoyable. Besides its bold discussion of what
usually goes on behind closed doors, the "Guide"
also cautions responsibility and safety. Its graph-

ic nature does not sacrifice plain, good common
sense when it comes to the sexual act itself.
Aside from aid for those floundering in deep
sexual waters, Joannides also takes on that most
dreaded of all conversations in "Chapter 51:
Explaining Sex to Kids." He advocates open
acknowledgement of sex when it comes to chil-
dren, which he concludes will help you raise "...
children to think about their sexuality in ways
that are constructive, rather than raising kids who
are mindless about sex ..." Tips like these offer
a more mature approach towards sex that other
guides do not provide.
Cyber-sex, threesomes, foreplay and self-
gratification -- it's all here. Joannides has cre-
ated a book for the average Joe that will help him
become, well, more than average. For those who
have wondered whether they're doing it right or
who have wished that they were more adept, the
"Guide to Getting It On" is highly recommend-
ed. And if you're just a regular person looking for
something to read that is witty, educational and
brimming with scandalous fun, that's OK too.

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