Thursday, April 1, 2010

American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson

Well in case you haven't noticed, I haven't posted anything since my verdict on the Twilight Saga. That's because I haven't read anything other than articles on digital imaging since I read the Twilight Saga. My class on digital imaging is absolutely not one of my favorite things, so I won't mention it again! But between it and getting ready for the arrival of the Dukeling (now only a month or so away!), I haven't had many opportunities to read for pleasure. Normally, I don't read non-fiction if I can help it, so this is definitely a notable occasion.

Greg and I are fans of Craig Ferguson. I really can't explain why. He's got a dirty mind and a filthy mouth and he certainly does not share many of our beliefs and values, but he has at least two things going for him: he's brilliant and he's Scottish. I'm not sure how funny he really is, but things just seem to sound funnier with a Scottish accent. We started watching his show because we watched Dave (I liked him at the time, but I'm over him now) and sometimes we would just leave the TV on and stay up too late. During the most recent election, shortly after he had become a naturalized citizen, Craig delivered a few passionate monologues on patriotism and voting that really won me over. Then he started playing with puppets, and I was hooked. So now we DVR his show every night and usually watch it the next night instead of Dave.

Greg checked out American on Purpose, Craig's autobiography, from the library. After he finished it, he handed it to me and told me that it was a fast read and that I'd enjoy it. I did. I did not enjoy some of the language - Craig is particularly fond of the f-word - but I was fascinated by the story and by the fact that this dude who left school at sixteen is as brilliant a writer as he is a comedian and late night host. Of course, he does read extensively, and I always say that avid readers are generally not stupid.

Greg was right: this book is a fast read. I'm not sure whether it's entirely true and accurate, but it is certainly an interesting story. I suppose it's a fairly typical Hollywood story - alcohol, drugs, women, failures and successes - but he tells it in a witty, cynical style that is easy to get caught up in. His story of coming from a lower class Scottish family to achieving fame and fortune in America, while working through all kinds of sordid stuff, is pretty interesting. But woven through it all is this philosophy, this idea that America really is the greatest country in the world, and that ultimately his life is about becoming a part of this country. Craig Ferguson may be an unlikely patriot, but he somehow manages to be an inspiring one.

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