"Why We Suck - A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid"

By Dr. Denis Leary.

Two quick things about this book you need to know before you read this any further. First, it’s not Dr. Denis Leary's funniest,  but is his most thought provoking. I’ll repeat that line several different times though out this review, trust me. Second, it’s not for people who are easily offended because Dr. Leary uses the real world, unfiltered, uncensored language of the post-modern angry male. If you can handle those two facts, feel free to keep reading.

On a personal note - there are some people in my own life who really need to read "Why We Suck" because this book and my review of it is actually about them; specific neighbors, a handful of relatives, all the members of the retrocentric community who have lost what “revolution” against modernism is all about. I’m talking directly to my old pastor, a couple of dads, those in our ‘extended circle’ who have made the honest mistake that "camping" is drinking wine out of a box on the porch of your cabin by the lake while listening to Michael Buble, and the rest of you who are too emasculated by your wives, mothers and mothers-in-law to admit that you’ve been tricked into thinking that being a “door mat” and “soft-spoken” is being mature and civilized. The retrocentrics who really need to read this book are the effeminate rats who will pose pictures of themselves in costume and Photoshop themselves into other people’s travel pictures or motion pictures while never once reading or participating in discussions about other people’s real world travels.

Forum - Fourm_imagesFor the other 95% of The Fedora Chronicles readership who don't fit the aforementioned descriptions, you’ll recognize many people in your own lives that belong squarely in the “suck” column. While reading the book or listening to the audio version, pictures of people from you own past will pop in your mind and you’ll get the sense that you’re having a personal conversation with Dr. Leary about them. You know the people who I’m talking about, the over-educated fat whiners who are always complaining about something when in fact they’ve had it pretty easy. You also know the people on the other extreme; those of whom have pretty messed up lives with neglected offspring who are basically trophy kids that are just items to show off next to their Audi’s, high-paying and high profile careers, lavish cookie-cutter homes in their planned resort communities.

For me, this book was an affirmation. I didn’t need to read this book because I already know what he’s talking about, most of us “suck.” There’s no way around this fact,  when I (and Dr. Leary) say that, it means that these people suck up our time, the planet’s resources, and space on this precious Earth. The other people suck up the opportunities that should have gone to people who are actually capable of getting work done. There are so many people out in the world today suck at what they do and keep getting away with it because they’re pretty, cute people and look good for a camera or the people in charge like their sob stories; every one of us know of someone else in the organization they belong to that are there because the person in charge took the youngling under their wings and are ‘fireproof.’

As I say this, I’m fully aware that I’m also illustrating my own suckage; past, present and future sucking. I am guilty of doing the same things that I run other people down for doing. The book is called “Why We Suck” for a reason.

Not So Funny, More Serious then “Cancer.”

As far as I’m concerned, this is not Dr. Leary’s funniest book. That distinction goes to his best known work, “No Cure For Cancer.” Everything that Dr. Leary endured during his childhood, college years, and early adulthood was right up there for display. All of the pent-up rage and emotion is poured out into his book or monologue. What it’s like to grow up in a working-class neighborhood in the North East is documented in such a way that it makes you both sad and laugh out loud at the same time. He attacked everything that was in the news and everyone who was in the news for no other reason than they were celebrities. Even worse, celebrities who were sobering up just to add a couple of minutes to their already expired 15 minutes. Want to restart your career? Two words: Betty Ford. One more word: Rehab.

He also used his rants about smoking, drugs, meat, and cancer to attack the then-current politically correct mindset that was prevalent then and has actually gotten worse since. He wrote about how men of his father’s generation were the type of men like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Chuck Yeager and Babe Ruth who got things done without the tools and technology we take for granted and didn’t have to wade through the swamp of modern double-talk group-think we face today. Dr. Leary notes that the current social climate is making boys and young men drugged, limp wimps today. If anything, “No Cure For Cancer” was an angry dissertation about the works of George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” and how all of his dire predictions were actually optimistic compared to the guff we were facing at the time while at the same time never mentioning Orwell or all that other stuff.

Why We Suck Dr. Denis LearyIf you’re half educated and made an attempt at living a full life while running into this oppressive fluffy nonsense that’s everywhere from the tabloids sold at the check-out counter to the words coming out of the incompetent leaders of this country; you know what he’s talking about and where he’s coming from.

His logic is irrefutable in both these books. The world is screwed up because of the people who suck at every level is screwing society up, and those people are either outnumbering the rest of us or have overwhelmed the good work we’re trying to do since their “accomplishments” spread and multiply like bacteria in an over-seas chicken processing plant. There are too many of “them,” and too few of us. As colleges start cranking out addle brained graduates who are allowed to pass in essays and theses with “txt spk” and offer proactive stress counseling, nothing is going to change in the near future.

While funnier than most of the other junk out there, “Why We Suck” isn’t as funny as “Cancer.” If anything, "Suck" is a deadly serious text with underlining wit and punctuated with humor. “Suck” is more thought provoking then “Cancer” since this outing Dr. Leary uses more time and pages to hammer out his argument angst step by logical step to such a point where you can’t deny or invalidate many of his conclusions regardless of how angry some of these points make you.

We are circling the bowl, what my Pastor Bob calls “Caught In The Flush.”

A Full Frontal Attack on Political Correctness.

Dr. Denis LearyDr. Denis Leary's work will leave a lot of feminists angry and frustrated for a host of reasons, all under the umbrella of the fact that women are different from men. He spends a great deal of time explaining that women are “wired” differently, accept it. Compare what men think with what women think about all day and you’ll immediately see the differences. While men are thinking about accomplishments and goals, women think about relationships and ‘shopping for shoes.’ While that might stereotypical thinking, it illustrated that point well. While my wife doesn’t obsess about shoes the way most other women do, she is what can be politely called a “shopaholic” and because of that I haven’t bought any item of clothes for myself in a very long time. If there’s an item that screams “1930’s Safari/New England hunter” or “1920’s Gangster” and it’s in my size then it’s in our closet right after she shows off it off and demands I model it for her. I on the other hand, I want to constantly do something. Rather than obsessing about clothes, I’m more focused on what I want to do after we get dressed. Or undressed, take your pick. My marriage is proof that men and women are different.

Women are incapable of doing the same things men are, there are exceptions to this rule but the fact still remain. The best example is women fire fighters and the physical test necessary to filter out the strong from the weak, especially weak males from the strong. To wit, there are some things men can’t endure that women can, like a “Sex in the City” marathon.

Even the way men and woman approach family life, husbands and wives /mothers and fathers both take different approaches to raising kids, as it should be.

Forum - Fourm_imagesAlso, Dr. Leary goes after a lot of sacred cows. False Christianity (churchianity as some of us like to call it,) bad parents, parents who dilute the diagnosis of autism by calling their own under-achieving children autistic when they actually aren’t, Dr. Phil who will now always be referred to as Dr. Full, fat people, lazy people, fat and lazy people, his own parents and his up-bringing, made-up words and definitions, racism and how race-baiters can’t have it both ways, spoiled over-paid and over-juiced athletes. There’s also a chapter written by “Jesus,” or what Jesus would say if he was given a chapter in Dr. Leary’s book and update the 10 Commandments. And that’s not even the whole list of the people he offends.

If you’re not offended by something written here, you either have a sense of humor or you’re an illiterate.

Self-Help and Narcissism.

There are plenty of people out there who suck because they live in a world where they play the victim. So many of us are “wronged” or suffer from some type of condition or ailment which requires expensive treatments and pharmaceuticals. I need this drink, powder, pill, needle, therapy, or surgery not because there’s anything wrong with me, but my self image and self esteem is damaged. My life is ruined not because of anything that was done to me, but because I just can’t get out of my own way. I can’t get off the couch or I want the courts to mandate that I can legally do something even though I can’t rise or be given that position because I earned it. Merit is quickly fading fast and is being replaced by swindlers, crooks, fakes and doctors who want to pry the last remaining dollar out of the people who are “suffering” from a lot of made-up afflictions. If the people can’t pay, then this new self-help industry will target those who can, the state and local governments.

Denis Leary FlagEveryone’s a victim of something, even Dr. Leary as described in this book. He uses those examples to prove a point; get over yourself because we all have problems. What makes us special or just relevant is how we choose to recover.

Then there’s the other extreme, narcissism. Not the love of self, but the love of your own self image and how other people see you. What you do isn’t as important as what other people think of you and what you’re doing. What matters is that people see you, your possessions and activities; not the actual results. Those around you, whether you’re a helicopter or jet-pack mom, must admire you and what you’ve accomplished. If those around you don’t have a sense of envy and wish their lives were as “good” as yours, then what’s the point? If people arent't jealous of your McMansion and Porsche SUV in the driveway, what’s the point?

“Look at me! Look at all that I’ve had, and all that I’ve done! I have a power-career and I go on lavish vacations, look at all the junk I’ve acquired! Look at me.” These people who suck and ruin it for the rest of us have very good self-images: Obviously not in a god way. Those people really suck.

These sick people actually believe that without others coveting your property and what you’ve done so far, then you might as well be poor. What is the point of keeping up and exceeding the Jones' if not to impress others and give them a false sense of your own self worth?

After The Final Pages…

I was listening to the audio version of Dr. Leary’s book, read by the good doctor himself and I’m left with a lot of thoughts about how we treat ourselves and each other. The focus of our lives is in the wrong things and in the wrong places. Many of us act like selfish, dumb animals; because we are. It’s all about us, too few of us actually have to take a minute to ask “What about me?” "What am I doing wrong?" "What am I doing that’s making other people’s lives harder while trying to make my life easier? " Who am I hurting with my selfishness and stupidity? How has my suckage affected the lives of the people close to me? To that end, let me just laugh at myself and offer my apologies.

Sadly, as I stated earlier, the people who this book is about and really need to read it or listen to the audio version won’t. They never will. There are those people who are easily offended by the language and his anger. I know this is just a comedy book, but it’s far more potent and effective than the nonsense that’s passed off as self help. Yes, sometimes you actually are a bad person at times who does stupid things to other people.

I’ll say it one more time; Knock. It. Off.

The question will linger long after the laughter has faded to silence, can we stop the suckage? Can we learn to suck any less? The Good Doctor’s prescription is pretty simple, start by waking the funk up and start thinking for yourself. Don’t let the same main stream media who’s trying to convince you during the commercial breaks to buy things that you really don’t want or need give you the news. Stop being a mindless consumer. Just think and stop following the stupid trends and fads.

Stop complaining. We all have problems as a former pastor once pointed out to someone else during a “marriage counseling session,” imagine what it must be like being Mrs. Fisk and being married to that! Everyone has something to overcome and could use a little less of the “oh, woe is me” gimmick. Are you part of the solution, or are you part of the problem? Just once, how about not perpetuating to the ever increasing load of bunk and just ask someone how there are doing and if you can help? Just once, see what happens.

What I wrote earlier in this review is basically the whole point of this book – stop, laugh, stop and think. Something you’ll be doing a lot of after you’ve read this book. Or at least just this review.

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Why We Suck

2010 October