Fools’ Names, Fools’ Facesby Andrew Ferguson
“Readers reveling in the humorous derision of fads and fame will enjoy Ferguson’s skewerings.” —Gilbert Taylor, Booklist
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What do Bill Bennett and James Carville, Louis Farrakhan and Gennifer Flowers, Don Imus and Bill Moyers have in common? They all wish Andrew Ferguson had never heard of them. For ten years, Ferguson has prowled the fever swamps of American celebrity in search of frauds and mountebanks, and he has not been disappointed. This is “celebrity journalism” of an unusually high—and skewed and entertaining—order.
But Ferguson also takes his readers beyond mere celebrity to examine the larger social trends and enthusiasms of this hyper-accelerated age. In Fools’ Names, Fools’ Faces, his first collection of essays, he dissects (and sometimes becomes a reluctant participant in) the quintessentially American fads that the ’90s have forced upon us.
“Ferguson views his role as a freelance journalist to be ‘provocative, succinct, and uncompromising’ and he is exactly that in these 32 essays reprinted from the New Republic, the Wall Street Journal and other publications. In this funny, invective-filled look at the ‘talking heads’ of American culture, he pulls no punches as he describes being a guest with alleged presidential paramour Gennifer Flowers on the Rolanda talk show; critiques Don Imus’s infamous standup routine before President Clinton at the journalists’ annual Gridiron Dinner; observes Newt Gingrich’s exercise of power on his first day as Speaker of the House; and skewers Robert McNamara over his belated Vietnam confessions. Ferguson, an editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, takes a mordant look at Washington politics that will not go unnoticed in the upcoming campaigns.” —Publishers Weekly
“Ferguson, an opinion columnist of conservative bent, offers recent pieces intended to ridicule egotists that we call celebrities. Ferguson calls them Barbara Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Bill Moyers, David Gergen, and . . . Andrew Ferguson. Yes, he admits to a case of self-promotional vapidity, having been a C-SPAN pundit, declaiming on topics he knew nothing about. If something is fraudulently sententious, such as a state-of-the-planet festival hosted by Gorbachev for 500 celebrities, Ferguson seems to get the assignment. His report’s richest irony: Ted Turner reading an article about his own fortune, deaf to a simultaneous speech by Thabo Mbeki of South Africa asking attendees to alleviate the plight of the world’s poor! Other objects of Ferguson’s satire include the diversity-training industry, self-esteemism, and Washington press dinners, those self-serious affairs that shock jock Don Imus crashed to great, though sophomoric, effect. Readers reveling in the humorous derision of fads and fame will enjoy Ferguson’s skewerings.” —Gilbert Taylor, Booklist