Friday, August 3, 2012

Mandy's Book Blogger Club: Discussion Post #2 for America, You Sexy B**** by Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain

Background Info: I am thrilled to be participating in Mandy's Book Blogger Club, the brainchild of Mandy at the Well-Read Wife. I will be reviewing America, You Sexy B****, the book that resulted from Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain's journey on a month-long cross-country trek to find out how real people in America feel about the state of our nation, later in August. Until then, I'll be posting on some Fridays using Mandy's Discussion Post questions to respond to the book and explore my feelings about it.

You don't have to be a book blogger or a participant in Mandy's Book Blogger Club to take part in the discussions. Click over to the Well-Read Wife and Mandy's second discussion question post to answer on your own in the comment section. You can also follow the discussion and answer the questions on Twitter using the hashtag #MBBCWRW.

The following questions cover pages 32 – 134 of the book:

1. In the Las Vegas chapter Michael and Meghan tour the Zappos headquarters.Would you like to work there? Why? Why not?

From their description, it seems a little too cult-like for me to want to work there. The forced happiness and fun sound... odd. But it makes them a heck of a customer service company! Based on this book, I may just have to start doing some Zappos shopping...

2. While in Vegas Micheal, Meghan, and co. go on a strip club tour of Vegas. Michael points out that in Vegas exotic dancers actually pay a fee to the clubs where they work for the opportunity to dance at the clubs. What do you think of this system?

Well, first of all, it makes it sound like it is something the dancers really want to do; how many of us (other than hairdressers, I guess) pay for the right to work somewhere? On the other hand, perhaps it is simply indicative of how cut-throat that business is in that particular city. I suppose I have mixed feelings on the topic in general; I minored in women's studies in college, where we discussed at great length the various types of feminism. On this issue, there are two primary feminist points of view: those in favor because it empowers women to make their own choices, and those not in favor because the career itself is demeaning to women. I'm all for women making their own choices, but it's hard to not see exotic dancing as... well, sad.

5. (Yes, I skipped #3 & #4.) In the Salt Lake City chapter Michael writes the following: “I would prefer that my political leaders practiced their religion however they see fit in private and shut the hell up about it in public.” Agree? Disagree?

I think most people want everyone to exercise their freedom of speech, and to stand up for what they believe in -- whether they agree or disagree. I am whole-heartedly in favor of free speech -- even for politicians. I suppose I do think that political leaders, however, have a responsibility to separate church and state most of the time. This probably means not evangelizing for your particular religious preference while acting as a government official. So... agree-ish? (And boy, could we all go off on a Chick-fil-a tangent on this one. But I won't. If you're interested, here's a link to a post by Jen Hatmaker, who had a thoughtful response on that topic.)

6. In the Austin chapter Meghan’s friend Cargill calls himself a philosophical Republican and says that he does not support any of the current Republican candidates. Cargill remarks that he will probably vote for the president in the next election. Michael writes. “Yet he would never call himself a Democrat.” Do you agree with Michael that people are afraid of being labeled a “liberal” or a “Democrat”? Do you think people are also just as afraid of being labeled “conservative”?

In the south, where I'm from (and where I love living), people are undoubtedly afraid of being labeled "liberal." To many, it's a dirty word, equal to saying you are aligned with the devil. The reason why is simple: people in the south (oftentimes, not always) equate "conservative" with "Christian." The Republican line is preached at many, many churches across the south. Thus, "conservative" means "more Christian" and "liberal," less so. I think that kind of thinking is dangerous, and doesn't address all the issues. But in answer to this question, yes, I think it's true. I'm equally sure that in some areas, "conservative" is the same kind of dirty word that "liberal" is in the south. It seems true in Hollywood and Michael Ian Black's state of Vermont, at least.

7. Cousin John. Discuss.

He brings necessary humor to the RV situation, and therefore, to the book.

8. In New Orleans, Meghan and Michael argue about health care. Whose side are you on? Meghan? Michael? Neither?

Oh, my. Another huge issue. I believe that all Americans have the right to healthcare. I also (firmly) believe they do not currently have access to healthcare. We have to change this, but people are so stuck in their ways of thinking that sometimes I'm afraid it will never happen. I think we have no choice but to look at other countries' healthcare systems and take the best and work on the worst to develop a plan for our own country. We may have the best doctors in the world, but a huge percentage of the population has no access to those doctors (or any doctors, for that matter). People have to stop dying (yes, literally dying) because they are afraid of the cost of taking care of themselves.

10. Were you surprised that Meghan, a Republican thinks marijuana should be legalized?

I was not surprised. She states in the book that many Republicans call her a "Republican-in-name-only," and I think that is a somewhat fair assessment. There do seem to be several topics on which she differs from the straight Republican line. I think this is awesome, though. We need more people who see multiple sides of issues, and less who take a strict approach to party lines in politics -- on both sides.

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Keep checking back for more discussion questions relating to America and politics in general. Feel free to comment below, if you can do it with civility. I don't mind at all if you disagree with me or with another commenter, but if things get nasty, understand that I may delete posts that contain gratuitous name-calling or other things in poor taste.

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