Ralph Nader's Non-Novel Novel: Unsafe at Any Read?

The Nation's Chris Hayes reviews Ralph Nader's new book, Only the Super Rich Can Save Us:

Ralph Nader begins his new book, Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, with an author's note that attempts to clarify any genre confusion the reader might have. "This book is not a novel," he announces. "Nor is it nonfiction. In the literary world, it might be described as a 'practical utopia.' " It's a smart clarification to offer because, by the aesthetic criteria of either of those two more common forms, it is a colossal, Hindenburgian disaster.

As a novel it is a dismal affair: gracelessly written, ploddingly plotted, and long. Oh God so long. And as a political tract it advances a conception of politics both grossly condescending and depressingly elitist. Democracy, Nader seems to say, could be ours: if only the oligarchs would get behind it.

Whole thing here.

In 2002, Reason editor Matt Welch reviewed Nader's book Crashing the Party: How to Tell the Truth and Still Run for President.

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  • ||

    ...what is the point of inventing dozens of characters only to have them all more or less mouth the same convictions, perspectives, and platitudes in the same uncanny progressobot voice? You might as well just say what you want to say and spare us the pretense.

    This coulda' been a review of The West Wing.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    I gather West Wing went off the air at some point. Has anybody gone back to watch it again, in syndication or DVD? I haven't, but I'll bet anybody who does will find the thing has dated worse than a glass of milk. They should remaster it and redraw everybody with powdered wigs and hose. It would seem more up to date.

  • Morris||

    I would be a bit careful with this line of propaganda if I were you. Right-wing libertarian fanatics aren't exactly a youth movement.

  • ||

    Hated the ideas, but loved the show anyway. Snappy dialogue and interesting characters, despite them all being over the top statists.

  • Paul||

    Dated worse than a Spike Lee movie?

  • ||

    I'm waiting for the big screen adaptation.

    Ralph, you're boring when you talk, when you write, when you cook ...

    I imagine you're boring when you fuck. It will take a truly spectacular demise to make us forget all that.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Too bad that plot by General Motors did not reveal the truthieness of your last point.

  • Sam Grove||

    Is it true you have to be dumb to be Ralph Nader?

  • Xeones||

    I imagine you're boring when you fuck.

    Only Steve Smith knows for sure.

  • Warty||

    Ralph Nader is still alive?

  • MJ||

    For certain definitions of "alive".

  • Xeones||

    Ok, i read the review. The part about Bill Cosby almost made me laugh out loud. Seriously, Ralph? Had you ever HEARD of Bill Cosby before?

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Ok, i read the review.

    You know that's cheating.

  • ||

    It bears repeating, that Ralph Nader has yet to move beyond the "Anger" stage of dealing with his son's fatal car accident. Just like Cindy Sheehan.

    Sad, really.

  • ||

    Nader had a son?

    Did his death prompt the 'Unsafe at any speed' thing?

  • zoltan||

    I thought that was Al Gore.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Democracy, Nader seems to say, could be ours: if only the oligarchs would get behind it.

    That's the way it worked for Athens. Or one of those other places where men wore towels.

  • ||

    I sent this in as a tip on September 23.

    Boo.

    io9 coverage

  • John Tagliaferro||

    You was robbed!

    Just toss the link in the thread like everybody else does.

  • Skid Marx||

    There's a saying that a neoconservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. We've now learned that bloggers mugged by regulators become economic libertarians.

    Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission issued its "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising," last updated in 1980. These rules historically regulated what celebrity endorsers can say and how advertisers can use research claims.

    This time the agency decided that regulations covering "endorsements and testimonials" should apply to people commenting on product or services, such as reviewing the latest gadgets or fashions, through blogs, Facebook posts and Twitter updates. The blogosphere erupted.

    The guidelines require people to disclose online if they have what the FTC vaguely defines as "material connections" with the sellers of a product or service. This could include getting free samples on which they base comments or reviews. Bloggers objected to the double standard that exempts traditional media from the rules—many newspapers, magazines and broadcasters accept free books and other products for their reviewers.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....44448.html

  • ||

    gracelessly written, ploddingly plotted, and long. Oh God so long.

    OK, nobody else here has made the joke, so I will:

    Ralph Nader made a commie version of an Ayn Rand novel?

  • John Tagliaferro||

    I was working up to that one too. Good work.

  • smartass sob||

    I had thought of it, but...

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Now check out the next thread by K M-W. Uncanny coincidence!

  • Rimfax||

    Fucker, you stole my thunder. (I love Rand's writing, but all of these adjectives apply in one sense or several.)

  • ||

    As a novel it is a dismal affair: gracelessly written, ploddingly plotted, and long. Oh God so long. And as a political tract it advances a conception of politics both grossly condescending and depressingly elitist.

    I'll specify Atlas Shrugged as a case in point. I actually liked Fountainhead and Anthem.

  • ||

    You totally stole my thunder mitch!! Yes, that's what it sounds like. And I think Ayn Rand's "looters" are here now, alive and well and sitting in D.C.

  • ||

    I thought progressives wanted to eat the rich. Now we should spare them because only they can save us? Which is it?

  • Skid Marx||

    They need to age a bit first. Like the fine cheeses that they are.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    And it's only the evil ones. Not the nice Progressive ones.

  • ||

    "I thought progressives wanted to eat the rich. Now we should spare them because only they can save us? Which is it?"

    All kidding aside, isn't that literally the plot of Atlas Shrugged? So this really is just the same story told by the bad guys.

  • ||

    You should look at the Amazon user reviews. They must be read to be believed.

  • ||

    "The best book I've read in decades."

    Well, except for the graphic novelization of Roger & Me.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Someone make this happen.

  • Rimfax||

    The one negative review is the best endorsement on the page. It is completely content-free.

  • Rimfax||

    Based on nothing more than this post, I feel that Nader should be given some credit for a grasp of successful revolutions in history. In every example in which I have been able to examine, some plurality-dominant moneyed interest has been threatened to support the revolution for it to be successful, not necessarily majority-dominant. Though I can't think of a single successful revolution where there was a sizable middle class.

  • Mao||

    I can.

  • Morris||

    "As a novel it is a dismal affair: gracelessly written, ploddingly plotted, and long. Oh God so long. And as a political tract it advances a conception of politics both grossly condescending and depressingly elitist."

    Atlas Shrugged?

  • Rimfax||

    mitch beat you to it.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "If you've ever thought to yourself that the fiction you've been reading doesn't contain enough in-depth accounts of what people said at meetings, then this book will be a revelation."

    HAHAHAHA.

  • ArkhamOutpatient||

    This is nothing more than fanfic. I can see Nader with little fingerpuppets of these people- "Oh, Ralph, you're the only one who can save us all. You're so smart and ethical...mmm..."

  • ||

    Democracy, Nader seems to say, could be ours: if only the oligarchs would get behind it.

    I would call that ironic, but then I'm reminded that it was the Democrats who were so eager to bail out Goldman Sachs, on the advice of Warren Buffet. So I suppose it's really not.

  • ||

    Well, if have to listen to invented self-important gas-bags drone on portentously for 800 pages in Nader's voice, I don't much want to be part of his.

    Now, that part was ironic.

  • Warty||

    Edward, you unfunny rimjob. Try again.

  • ||

    I can't imagine anyone reading this who isn't mentioned by name in it.

  • Paul||

    Only the Super Rich Can Save Us:

    Tell us something we don't know about the progressive mindset...

  • Paul||

    Most, though not all, of the "Meliorists" programs are worthy, even ingenious. And if I were a funder, and I read them described in a grant application, I'd be inclined to reach for my checkbook.

    I'm a little concerned about this Christopher Hayes fellow...

  • LarryA||

    In the literary world, it might be described as a 'practical utopia.'

    Literature has a long history of utopia schemes. They have all been equally practical, in the sense that 0 equals 0.

  • ||

    I guess in the Glenn Dreck era, anything over two pages with pictures is just too much for reasoned bloggers who let other people tell them what to think.

  • ||

    It is a shame that people are so anti intellectual nowadays. Ralph Nader is a very smart man whom has done much for everyone of us. Kudos to you Ralph and may the ignorant get what they deserve.

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