'Of Thee I Zing'--America, You Deserve It

Now on her fifth book, radio show host and media personality Laura Ingraham has produced a unique, lively description of what ails modern American culture.  Of Thee I Zing: America’s Decline from Muffin Tops to Body Shots was written by the author in conjunction with her radio show contributor, Raymond Arroyo.  In it she chronicles the tragic decline and near dissolution of American culture.

To make her points, Ingraham uses a unique style of writing.  She makes commentary on an event or person in short mini-essays.  Each chapter has a header that often twists clichéd phrases into perfect descriptions of the twisted quirks of postmodern America.

For instance, there is a chapter titled “Play Hates”—a pun on the phrase “playdates”—in which Ingraham describes the preplanned, structured and entirely boring playtime that children must now endure.  These play hates often involve thinly veiled attempts to make children work on noxious politically correct projects such as making puppets out of recycled plastic bottles and pipe cleaners.  No longer can kids just be kids, even playtime must be planned by overbearing parents.

These short, concise mini-essays often take up no more than half a page of writing.  The style works well, making it a book that’s easy to quickly pick up and set down while also holding the reader’s attention.

The focus of Ingraham’s attack on declining American culture seems to come from many directions.  All of which show how far we have fallen from the high standard of the “Greatest Generation.”

First, she goes after the course, crude, ugly American persona that haunts nearly every local mall.  Overweight girls stuffing themselves into skintight cloths and young boys with their pants hanging below their waists are just some of the targets of Ingraham’s zingers.  She also describes how the manners of these uncouth youths have degenerated into a kind of First World barbarism.

In many of these young barbarians, Ingraham detects three strands of thought.  She says, “Many were led to believe that manners: (a) are for losers (uncool) and (b) inhibit individuality.  There’s also the (c) group—those who reply, ‘Manners?  I have no idea what you’re talking about.’ ”


The coarseness of American culture she attributes to the “countercultural revolution of the 1960s.”  Once again, this is a profound departure from the generation that endured the Great Depression and World War II.

Another group that comes under fire are the adult children that pervade our increasingly immature and dependent country.  Narcissistic, rude, and seemingly trapped in eternal prepubescence, today’s young adults leave responsibility at the door in favor of childish pursuits.  Ingraham rails against the “Boomerang Brats,” who after graduating college move back in with their parents to mooch and freeload.

Instead of being productive and responsible, these adult children engage in activities such as sleeping in until noon and zoning out on social networking sites.

Possibly the worst aspect of current American culture that Ingraham eviscerates is how dumbed-down people have become.

Children and developing students are subjected to endless self-esteem sessions, participating in “competitions” in which everyone is a winner.  She describes a neighborhood soccer game that she attended in which every single child received a trophy.  One of the frustrated “award winners” threw his meaningless trophy to the ground in disgust.  Ingraham wrote, “Unless you are deployed in the U.S. military, you should not receive a medal just for showing up.”

This problem is further exacerbated by schools having numerous “dumb days,” which are worthless school holidays that take the place of a meaningful day of learning.  These include “Backwards Day,” “Pajamas Day,” “Jeans Day” and “Crazy Hair Day.”  Ingraham says that these “holidays” should be stricken from the academic calendar.

Overall, Ingraham paints a pretty bleak, but entirely hilarious, picture of modern American society.  She mocks everyone from troglodyte mall-dwellers to overzealous Tiger Moms who turn their children into test-taking, Ivy League-bound drones.

If you want to laugh at the state of modern culture, especially liberal PC culture, then this is definitely the book to pick up.