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Barry Crimmins

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political satirist Barry Crimmins

Publishers Weekly Review Thursday, November 11, 2004

NEVER SHAKE HANDS WITH A WAR CRIMINAL

Barry Crimmins. Seven Stories Press, $21.95 (192p) ISBN 1-58322-660-5


Humor writer and political activist Crimmins is a hero among professional comedians for having helped launch the careers of Steven Wright, Bobcat Goldthwait and others. While hes recently gained wider recognition through his stand-up performances and his writing for Air America Radio, this funny, intelligent book could increase his audience even more. Witty and insightful, it has the potential to make Crimmins a prominent voice on the left. One-page groupings of political one-liners are interspersed between short, provocative and extremely well-written essays. Crimmins takes a comedic scalpel to various right-wing targets, including what he perceives as post-9/11 jingoism, conservative "clone candidates," Henry Kissinger (who inspired the books title), Dennis Miller and various members of the Bush administration, especially John Ashcroft and his support of the Patriot Act ("Kaiser Ashcroft doesnt think of them as nukes--he considers them rapture accelerants "). He also combines autobiographical glimpses of his youth in Skaneateles, N.Y. ("an Indian word that means beautiful lake surrounded by fascists "), and his life in the 1980s managing the Ding Ho, Bostons first real comedy club, with more substantial attacks on George W. Bushs government. Unapologetically admitting to preaching to the choir, "since the choir in America really needs a night out now and then," Crimmins presents "a thoughtful resistance to the madness of an era."  (Nov. 15)

updated: 14 years ago