A Review of "You Sort of Deserved This" By Barack Obama

Posted by: Landry

You Sort of Deserved This
By Barack Obama
Nonfiction
449 pages
$29.99
Hardback

By now you’ve surely heard of the book deal, reportedly worth $899 billion, given to Barack and Michelle Obama for their respective memoirs. Less attention has been given, probably because less money has been given, to the former president for his other book deal for a book called You Sort of Deserved This and it’s an honest and some might say angry or bitter analysis of American politics and society and it’s scheduled to be published in August by Malarkey Books. All proceeds will be donated to support media literacy, especially in rural America.

Can I just say that this is a good read but it’s definitely going to be controversial to say the least. In You Sort of Deserved This former president of the United States Barack Hussein Obama lambastes American politics and media. The first line is pithy but kind of crude for a former president: “All through my presidency Republicans said I hated America; it wasn’t true—until around 2014 and then I was like, ‘Well, after listening to this shit for six years, OK, little bit,’ and then by 2016 I was like, ‘Fuck em.’”

I prefer my presidents to be inspirational but even though Obama was always very well spoken and articulate he was not inspirational to me even when he was president and definitely not in You Sort Of Deserved This in which he basically blames Americans for electing Donald J. Trump as president. Hey Obama, no offense but maybe you’re not president anymore because you blame people too much? You catch more flies with honey, sir!

Aside from the blaminess I will say he is pretty honest. He admits that he probably didn't do the best job managing the war in Afghanistan, “but managing a war is not a job anyone can be great at. The war in Afghanistan was unwinnable from the beginning. When it comes to war you either win or lose. When you find yourself managing a war you have to know you’re already fucked.” It's not very presidential to curse like that but there’s a lot of stuff I didn’t know about Obama like that he might also be a racist.

I don’t want to discourage people from reading this book because it’s a good book and also I’m supposed to focus on the positive elements of the books I review because we want people to buy them but I think it’s important to let you know that Obama uses some unpleasant words in this book. Like racist words like when he says he wants to take a moment to directly address his, quote marks his, “critics” and he says “I know that calling me a Muslim was just a way for you to call me a—” The former president used a word that I have too much taste to repeat. It made me feel really sad to see him use that word in his book. Honestly I lost a lot of respect for him for using that word. “I also know that the identity-focused webzines are going to use that quote as clickbait, reducing my whole book to a headline about how Obama used the n-word.” I don’t know, I’m not criticizing him but maybe if he didn’t use the n-word so much people wouldn’t think he was a racist. Just saying.

Like I said he doesn’t like Trump and he thinks it’s America’s fault for electing Donald Trump which I think is unfair but I’m not the president. “I know much of what I say will fall on deaf ears,” he writes offensively because it’s hearing-impaired. “I know I’m talking to a country that voted Jimmy Carter out of office because he had the audacity to suggest to Americans that they should economize, share responsibility, even sacrifice. A lot of you are not going to want to hear it. The biggest problem I face, in fact, is that the people who don’t want to hear it aren’t reading this book, so I can only hope that the people who do read it will annoy their friends with quotes from this book, with ideas from this book. That members of the Big Bad Media will give this book enough attention that some of the ideas, not just the n-word clickbait, will seep into the public consciousness. There are a lot of theories about why Hillary lost the election, of how American politics became so broken, about how a man like Donald Trump, unqualified, dishonest, fundamentally undemocratic, could rise to the office of president. We don’t need theories. We need the truth. The truth is you get the president you deserve and America deserved Donald Trump. America, light of the world, has its head up its ass. We prefer narrative to reality. We live in a country where if you don’t want to believe in global warming, not only do you not have to believe in it, there’s also an entire political party, there are entire news networks, dedicated to the fiction that global warming is a fiction. Your beliefs will be reinforced and recycled and you can believe that global warming is a hoax, cooked up by the Chinese, by the alien lizards, by the Jewlluminati, and anyone who believes in climate change is just a dupe of the Mainstream Media. It’s the height of irony, or more appropriately the depth of irony, that the country that has been the main driver of climate change should also be the main denier of it, that a political party that preaches the importance of individuals taking personal responsibility should be the main proponent of abdicating responsibility. Part of me feels bad for you. Trump has offered you jobs, security, a place at the table, but he’s going to screw you over, and part of me feels that if you’re dumb enough to take him seriously you deserve whatever happens to you. But I don’t want to live that way. I don’t want to think that way about my neighbors, my fellow citizens. The cynic in me thinks the motto of America should be ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me again and again and again and I’ll just accept your version of reality even if I know it’s fucking bullshit.’” Again with the cursing. I don’t really like cursing. I think it’s a sign of a lazy mind. I try to keep it clean not like Obama he’s dirty. He tries to walk it back and say something positive—“It doesn’t have to be this way. We can be better. We can be good again”—but it’s just like, “Uh, too late, homie, I just don’t like crudeness.”

To his credit the former president admits he made some mistakes and I think he should get credit for that he says “My administration didn’t live up to our own standards in transparency. I know that. We were obsessed with the narrative. We tried so hard to control the narrative because we knew there were so many ways for it to be hijacked. We knew there were so many bandits hidden out along the ideological wayside. But that’s not an excuse. I still failed at transparency. I made my fear of being hijacked make me overly secretive. I can admit when I am wrong, which is more than I can say for my country sometimes.” That’s like a total #sorrynotsorry moment right? Am I doing that right?

You Sort of Deserved This is a total beach read even though it won’t technically come out until the end of summer but even still at some point the Trump jokes and the Trump bashing it’s going to get old so I guess he wanted to get his licks in while he could. Why do we say “licks” when we mean like punches or hits or something? Like that’s gross, and it’s not even really like licking, I guess if your hands are really sweaty? “Listen. I don’t want to make it sound like this is all the Republicans’ fault. Liberals are responsible for their own allotment of madness. (Note to self: potential book title, Allotment of Madness.) I remember one day during the election, in those halcyon days when everyone was glad Trump had gotten the nomination because, come on, it’s Trump. If he was a supervillain his name would be The Ochre Joker. No one takes him seriously. But anyway, I turned on NPR and there were two guys being interviewed. These guys—their hearts were in the right places, their brains not so much—had made it their mission to go around the country trying to convince white men not to run for public office. Not trying to convince women or people of color to run for office, which would be totally fine. No, they’re knocking on doors telling white guys they shouldn’t run for office. Really? Who do you clowns think you’re helping? I heard them talking and I said to Michelle, ‘These goobers are plants. They’re obviously white supremacists posing as white liberals just to caricaturize and discredit them.’ But I had some people check them out, and they turned out to be genuine. Congratulations, dumbasses, you made yourselves so annoying that people were willing to throw away their votes on an anus-lipped doofus with a daughter fetish just to avoid being on your team. As much as I’d like to say the right-wing mantra of political correctness ruining America is overblown, I can’t because I have to admit that there’s always a few of you clowns—and you all seem to write for Salon.com—lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce as soon as someone says the wrong thing. I guess we should call you the Flack Panthers. Racism is real. Racism is a sickness. But telling white people they can’t run for office is not going end racism or increase equality. It’s just going to piss off white people. The best thing you dudes could do for democracy and progress would be to come work for me. I’ll pay you good salaries with socialist-country-level benefits to just shut the fuck up and play video games, as long as they’re not hooked up to the internet because I don’t want you communicating with anyone. Seriously. I’ve got money. Thanks to my book deal I have more money than Trump now. To be fair, there are ascetic monks who’ve given away all their worldly possessions who have more money than Trump now. All Donald has is the Eric Trump Foundation and a revolving line of credit from Vnesheconombank.”

I know that people are mad and they think there’s a double standard because the very people who declared that they were devoting their existences to making sure that Obama failed as president are now the people who are saying every day in relation to Donald J. Trump just give him a chance and let the man do his job and a lot of people want Mr. Trump to fail, but guys, wanting the president to fail, is like wanting the pilot of the plane that you’re on with your whole family and all your neighbors and friends and more than three hundred million strangers to crash into a mountain and everyone dies and has to eat each other to try to survive so yeah, he won, let’s give him a chance. I know there’s hurt feelings, I know there’s some weird stuff, but honestly I’m the type of person who looks forward, like a shark, and I really try to focus on the positive like let’s make the best of this situation because when life gives you lemons you make lemonade and I know you also need sugar to make lemonade, and clean water and a pitcher and ice cubes and stuff, but you’d ruin the metaphor if you tried to mention all that other stuff. So I guess if I had one criticism of You Sort of Deserved This it’s that it doesn’t look forward but aside from that it’s definitely worth buying from this website or any fine bookstore!

My rating: A+! 


Dumbass disclaimer: I shouldn’t have to say that the above review is fictional, that I’m using it as a vehicle to make fun of something, a political figure, society, Simon & Schuster, but the above review is fictional and I’m using it as a vehicle to make fun of something, a political figure, society, Simon & Schuster. While it should be taken seriously, it should not be taken as factual. It should maybe make you think, lead you to some deeper understanding of the world, or at least make you snort against your will in awkward laughter, but please understand that it’s fictional. The book that my fictional intern is describing is fucking fictional. Given the state of the publishing industry and the fading line between reality and parody, I can’t reasonably expect readers to make the distinction between what’s real and what’s tongue-in-cheek, and while it would make part of me happy to know that there’s someone gullible enough to believe the books I’m pretending are forthcoming are real, most of me would just be sad. I’m sad enough already.

©Alan Good 2017