- By Matt Taibbi

The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire

  • Title: The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire
  • Author: Matt Taibbi
  • ISBN: 9780385520348
  • Page: 408
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Great Derangement A Terrifying True Story of War Politics and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire A revelatory and darkly comic adventure through a nation on the verge of a nervous breakdown from the halls of Congress to the bases of Baghdad to the apocalyptic churches of the heartland Rolling Sto

    A revelatory and darkly comic adventure through a nation on the verge of a nervous breakdown from the halls of Congress to the bases of Baghdad to the apocalyptic churches of the heartland.Rolling Stone s Matt Taibbi set out to describe the nature of George Bush s America in the post 9 11 era and ended up vomiting demons in an evangelical church in Texas, riding the streeA revelatory and darkly comic adventure through a nation on the verge of a nervous breakdown from the halls of Congress to the bases of Baghdad to the apocalyptic churches of the heartland.Rolling Stone s Matt Taibbi set out to describe the nature of George Bush s America in the post 9 11 era and ended up vomiting demons in an evangelical church in Texas, riding the streets of Baghdad in an American convoy to nowhere, following a trail of pork through the halls of Congress, and falling into the rabbit hole of the 9 11 Truth Movement.He discovered in his travels across the country that the resilient blue state red state narrative of American politics had become irrelevant A large and growing chunk of the American population was so turned off or radicalized by electoral chicanery, a spineless news media, and the increasingly blatant lies from our leaders they hate us for our freedom that they abandoned the political mainstream altogether They joined what he calls The Great Derangement.Taibbi tells the story of this new American madness by inserting himself into four defining American subcultures The Military, where he finds himself mired in the grotesque black comedy of the American occupation of Iraq The System, where he follows the money slicked path of legislation in Congress The Resistance, where he doubles as chief public antagonist and undercover member of the passionately bonkers 9 11 Truth Movement and The Church, where he infiltrates a politically influential apocalyptic mega ministry in Texas and enters the lives of its desperate congregants Together these four interwoven adventures paint a portrait of a nation dangerously out of touch with reality and desperately searching for answers in all the wrong places Funny, smart, and a little bit heartbreaking, The Great Derangement is an audaciously reported, sobering, and illuminating portrait of America at the end of the Bush era The funniest angry writer and the angriest funny writer since Hunter S Thompson roared into town James Wolcott A scabrous, hilarious vivisection of our disintegrating nation.Taibbi shines a light on the corruption, absurdities, and idiot pieties of modern American politics Beneath his cynical fury, though, are flashes of surprising compassion for the adrift credulous souls who are taken in by it all Michelle Goldberg

    1 thought on “The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire

    1. Let me just say that Matt Taibbi kicks much ass, so when I say this next part don't shoot me. Whenever I see him on Bill Maher I think he swears too much. Yes, a contradiction but then I am full of contradictions.Anyway, kudos to Matt for being an intrepid reporter. I wouldn't have wanted to participate in the church he did, to find out why people are so deranged. But he did and I and this book thank him for it.Told with a great dose of humor, irony, satire and bewilderment this book is a great [...]

    2. Most authors have a favorite Word, a by the wayside piece of arcana they drop into everything they publish.* Others repeat a trademark Word like a mantra.** Matt Taibbi's Word is "masturbatory." Masturbatory is a descriptive word, so filled with connotation that it drives home the point that it's used critically; there can be no mistaking the author's intent. But it is only an "awakening" Word for a small group of highly suggestable readers - most of whom are seniors in high school or freshmen i [...]

    3. The Great Derangement has the best tutorial I've seen on the actual workings of Congress. Chapter 2 describes in detail the processes of the Republican-controlled congress (prior to the 2006 elections), explaining in detail how bills are actually created and rammed through. Taibbi explains why it is that CSPAN2 is so mind-numbingly dull - an endless parade of house resolutions to name a post office or honor a dead chamber of commerce booster. The real work of the congress is done in the middle o [...]

    4. Wow, what a scary, hilarious and depressing book this was! Veteran Rolling Stone political reporter Matt Taibbi visits two extreme sides of today's political "debate", a Christian Evangelist church in Texas and the wingnuts of the "Truth 9/11" squad, who maintain the whole Sept. 11 terrorist attack was really a government plot. A plot for what, no one seems quite clear, but a plot nonetheless.His visit to the fire and brimstone evangelical mega-church in Texas is, of course, the scariest to this [...]

    5. There is an essential flaw in human nature that makes us think we're special. It used to make us think that we were literally the center of the universe, which it turns out we aren't. It makes us think that we're all going to grow up to be movie stars and astronauts, which we aren't; our children are all brilliant and well-behaved, which they aren't; and that God is on our side, which It isn't.Oddly enough, though, there is one place where this boundless optimism is flipped on its head. Every ge [...]

    6. I bought Matt Taibbi’s The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, & Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire about eight years ago and never got around to reading it. I picked it up now because I figured “great derangement” basically described the 2016 presidential election, so what better time to read it than now? While the specifics of Taibbi’s book (megachurch-going Christians and 9/11 Truthers for the most part) seems out of date and not relevant, the [...]

    7. I'm a big fan of Matt Taibbi's from some of his Rolling Stone coverage during the election (especially his piece about deranged Hillary supporters) and I think I would have rather read a collection of those pieces instead. The coverage of Congress was interesting (if depressing) but the main topics of the book, Christian fundamentalists obsessed with the End Times and 9-11 Truthers, covered ground I've read about before. I thought that Rapture Ready by Daniel Radosh did a better, and more sympat [...]

    8. For fans of Taibbi, this is pure gold. If you want a sense of how fucked up things are, it's a perfect read: a s edifying as it is entertaining.

    9. After having spent time as a participant-observer with extreme evangelical christians and hardcore believers in 911 as government conspiracy—more time with the former—reporter Matt Taibbi examines both as reactionary faiths: popular movements that lend meaning in a world rendered opaque by a derelict media that obfuscates the actions of the political class upon which it should be reporting. His encounters are with those who have been—pardon the pun—left behind by the prime movers of soci [...]

    10. If it weren't so grim, Taibbi's book would be perfect. I went in expecting a thorough shredding of the modern dominionist movement, and while there are certainly some damning passages, the book's emphasis is more nuanced. Taibbi studies three worlds in turn: the deep-texas congregation of political firebrand/megachurch preacher John Haggee, the unhinged world of Bush-hating 9/11 Truthers, and the cynical swamp of day-to-day Congressional governance.Taibbi's premise is that as Democrats and Repub [...]

    11. Reading this book was a spectacular waste of time. Taibbi wants to look into why the political situation in this country is so polarized and dysfunctional so he embeds himself into the 9/11 Truth movement and into a fundamentalist Texas megachurch. But this is not investigative journalism and it certainly isn’t participant observation. Rather Taibbi hides his true identity and presents himself in both venues as something he isn’t in order to gain access to the inner life and logic of the org [...]

    12. The Derangement is about the loss of a collective public narrative during the Bush era. People on the right and left started to use his wonderful term “reality shopping” to find their own narrative. He explores and infiltrates Pastor Hagee’s megachurch and the 9/11 truth movement. He finds an America disenchanted with its political options, seeking easy superhero narratives (the Matrix and V for vendetta being common touchstones), and mostly very lonely. I found this book deeply sad, the o [...]

    13. The comparisons to Hunter S. Thompson are widespread and inevitable. After all, Taibbi not only shows much of Thompsons's influence, he's a national political writer/editor for Rolling Stone. But Taibbi also shows a voice of his own, updating that sense of moral outrage and energetic despair for the modern political climate. His discussions of where and how American government have gone wrong, and how it has left Americans on both sides of the political spectrum moving around in bewildered inani [...]

    14. Great writing. I love his point of view. I didn't click "amazing" above because I didn't really understand the tie-ins of the Christianity with the derangement, aside from just "going out there", meaning way out in weird land. He'd kind of pop around, and have very savable sudden insights, but I couldn't really put together the different areas. Also, the 36% figure on people who think that 9/11 was an inside job, I don't know about that. And lots of time was spent on them, "the Truthers"; Does n [...]

    15. A very enjoyable and educational read. Just how much bullshit can the American public be expected to absorb before we all collectively Lose Our Shit!! Both The Left and The Right are bristling with righteous indignation and rage, but it is all misdirected at the wrong targets. The media has failed miserably to keep the nation informed, and The Internet only added to the confusion. Favorite Concept: "You don't get elected to break the law, you get elected to change the law so that no law is broke [...]

    16. Really? Prep school douche travels to middle America and chuckles at fatties? I agree with everything Taibbi says but I still found this book unpleasant and unfunny. Rolling Stone journalist from NYC insinuates himself in a Texas megachurch, exhausts himself early thinking of creative ways to describe white trash, makes some pretty obvious points about church and state, sits on his laurels as "the next Hunter S. Thompson," eats shit. Great for people who haven't seen "Jesus Camp" but still would [...]

    17. Hilarious, empathetic, and edifying. Matt Taibbi goes places most people wouldn't go — and places those people wouldn't go, to those other places over there, to where that first group wouldn't've been caught dead — to do the footwork and give you the skinny on the "political spectrum" in contemporary America. (Though, by now, this 2008 book'll need updating — who could've predicted a Donald Trump run[*]? Geez!) Read this one or risk being less prepared. Word to your mother!---------------- [...]

    18. I am only a few chapters in to this book, but am enjoying it thoroughly. Of course, the subject matter is depressing as hell, but his writing is superb. Presently I am nearing the end of the chapter in which he recounts his foray into the world of the fundamentalist 'Christians'. He attends some 'seminars' and 'encounter weekends' under an assumed name and identity, for one thing.Having at one time in my life been exposed to this type of religious whackiness, his recounting of his experiences ri [...]

    19. I wanted to read something mean and funny, only to feel a bit bad when he says in the introduction he doesn't want to be that guy that people only think of because he's mean and funny, but still. Not bad otherwise, particularly for the look into the specific varieties of crazy out there. As a former member of something not entirely unlike a cult, I already knew that people who's lives consist of a string of tiny, nameless indignities building up to a banal grey loneliness will go insane in virtu [...]

    20. Taibbi is a talented writer. He does a good job of making the bizarre scenes into which he put himself compelling and quite funny. But a shorter version of the book might read like this: "There are all kinds of crazy people in this country(like, way crazier than me), and I spent a LOT of time talking to them. Unfortunately, talking to the crazies has made me so tired and cranky that I don't have much of anything to say about what all of this means."

    21. Angry man Taibbi is always entertaining, and whilst this book goes a little further than blind fury / maudlin despair, it feels shallow. At its strongest it details Taibbi's odd integration into an evangelical community, or discusses the essential emptiness of US political journalism. But the argument feel tacked-on, and the over-arching themes fall short. It feels like a very talented journo took a summer break, and needed something to hand in after. But it could've been much more.

    22. Matt Taibbi is a young investigative reporter who writes for Rolling Stone. He embeds with Truthers, Evangelicals and troops in Iraq and lays out his observations. Excellent source of current information for those not involved in these groups yet wonder what they are all about. Read on Kindle.

    23. Imagine Hunter S. Thompson as a passive-aggressive hipster instead of a drug and aggression fueled maniac.

    24. Matt Taibbi writes like a wave breaks, a continuous chaotic turbulent line of prose that explodes and foams but carries you along, thrusts you ahead until finally you hit the shoreline of a chapter break and you can catch your breath before you turn the page and start the next wave. I've never met Taibbi, but I picture him as a thin furious man who stabs his finger onto the table to emphasize the points he's making. (Of course, now I've Googled him, I see he's not thin at all--damn you Google, s [...]

    25. Basically, Matt Taibbi is a less self-destructive, more approachable Hunter S. Thompson. So it's good shit, is what I'm saying. Deep, insightful, perceptive, easy and enjoyable to read. At times hysterical. No reason not to give it a read if you've got the time and the interest. I'm moving on to Griftopia next.

    26. When Matt Taibbi first started writing about politics for Rolling Stone, I was very impressed with him. He actually let his feelings about the issues, the politicians, the behaviors they engaged in and the positions they took come through. He wasn't afraid to call someone an asshole or the son of the devil or whatever he might say to his friends while sitting around at a bar ranting, and this combined with his intelligent and incisive analysis of the things he was writing about combined to make [...]

    27. The case that Taibbi makes in this book is that our national politicians have, quite deliberately and in their own self-interest, corrupted the process of government to such an extent that, not only has it lost any characteristics of a representative democracy responsive to the needs of the people, it can -- more importantly in his and our context -- no longer be described using the tools of rationality. Small wonder, then, that the response of many of the effectively disenfranchised popul [...]

    28. I have been a fan of Matt Taibbi's since I first encountered him on theexile. Since his Lennon/McCartney-like break with Mark Ames he has been doing some fantastic reporting, notably his columns about the financial crisis for Rolling Stone.In his books and articles, dumb people are either figures of fun to be mocked mercilessly or people to be pitied and sometimes held up as symptoms of what is wrong with America. And smart people have their words translated into "what they really mean." All of [...]

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