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America, You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter to Freedom

Review

America, You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter to Freedom

When I discovered that Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain were writing a book together, I was puzzled to say the least. Michael is well known for his roles in the series Stella and The State, the hilarious Wet Hot American Summer, and the I Love The (place decade here)’s VH1 series. His deadpan sense of humor, biting wit, and self-deprecation has earned him a devoted underground following --- of hipsters --- and nearly two million Twitter followers. He’s also a raging liberal, which made me wonder what he was doing hamming it up on the cover of this book with John McCain’s daughter. Meghan is a contributing writer for The Daily Beast, and a frequent talking head on MSNBC. She describes herself as a “liberal Republican” --- a subscriber to the party’s views on foreign policy and economics, while supporting issues such as gay marriage and access to birth control.

The book’s inception is just as strange and unlikely as the pairing. Michael was settling down for the night under the influence of Ambien, and began tweeting in a sleepy haze, as he is wont to do. After a few tweets back and forth with Meghan, he wrote, “We should write a book together.” Delirious and half-kidding as he loves to discuss politics and write, to which she responded “Sure!” without meeting him more than twice. Following the same spontaneity that led to their pairing, the duo decided to tour America in a ramshackle RV for a month, accompanied by their tour manager Stephie, and a driver named “Cousin John” --- no relation to either. 

As they hit city after city, they stopped to speak with locals, explore cities and gauge life in different parts of America. Their mission was to dissuade the two-dimensional “liberal vs. conservative” attitudes and the idea of “real America” crafted by the media, which both agree are poisoning American politics. Mostly, they wanted to prove that two people with completely different American experiences can find common ground --- if they can, anyone can, Meghan argues. Given the enormity of the task, they did the best they could by visiting cities such as Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, and Little Rock. They met with Mormon missionaries, gun-lovers, comic book nerds, D.C. politicians, and everyone in between to get a broader picture of the American way of life.

Each chapter is subdivided and clearly marked to indicate which person is writing, almost like a journal, as if their styles of writing weren’t distinct enough. Michael’s writing bears his typical snarky cynicism, while Meghan’s writing reflects her exuberance and zest for life. Their entries ranged from discussing the day’s events, to random quips, personal fears, and --- as expected of two adults with highly differing ideologies living in a crowded, dirty RV --- arguments with one another. Though the fights occurred often at first and resulted in long spells without speaking, over the course of their trip they developed an older-brother/younger-sister kind of bond, genuinely caring for one another. By the end of their month, both seemed truly changed and more appreciative of the other party’s point of view, considering the trip a success.

As scatter-brained as it sounds, AMERICA, YOU SEXY BITCH is an excellent read and absolutely hilarious. Picturing a politician’s daughter partying and drinking absinthe at a brass band show at a bar in New Orleans, and Michael Ian Black falling in love with gun ranges, is ridiculous but true. At times, the authors get a little preachy, but it is a book on politics after all, so that is expected. Despite their inherent differences, they wound up learning how much they have in common --- Meghan tends to be a bit of a free spirit, following the “if-it-feels-good-do-it” mantra, while Michael dotes on his loving nuclear family in the suburbs of Connecticut --- both of which contradict the stereotypes painted by their political ideologies. Though it’ll take much more than one book to fix America, Michael and Meghan show us that two very opposite people can find common ground, which gives us hope towards the future of Capitol Hill and American politics.

Reviewed by Anthony Landi on June 27, 2012

America, You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter to Freedom
by Megan McCain and Michael Ian Black

  • Publication Date: June 5, 2012
  • Genres: Politics, Popular Culture
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • ISBN-10: 0306821001
  • ISBN-13: 9780306821004