Why We Suck
By Denis Leary

    Ah, Denis Leary.  A man who has been in films with Kevin Spacey, Sigourney Weaver, and Clint Eastwood, not to mention being the voice of Diego in the Ice Age films.  Denis Leary, the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor for his hit television show on FX,
Rescue Me.
      Denis Leary, who I recall telling in graphic detail the effects of cocaine on the male genitalia.  Denis Leary, the fast talking, foul mouthed man whose stand up show, "No Cure for Cancer," spawned a video, book and CD.
      He is a comedian who shocks his audience with fast talking, frank facts, and with what seems to be an endless supply of air.  And for those who only know him from his hit show on FX, watch out.
    Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid can only be described as a book of collected rants, arranged in a cohesive and somewhat organized manner.  And Denis Leary tells us point blank why he believes the rest of the world hates us.  Warning the reader from the start that this is a comedy book, Leary kicks off Chapter One by stating "It's never cool to die in a pool of your own puke."  
     This reference to the death of Anna Nicole Smith is only the starting point.  He goes even further and points out how we - as a society - fuel the idiot train that is Hollywood, and relish in stories of rehab, redemption, and relapse.
     He rips George Bush, Jr., new holes that I didn't think were possible.  He brings to our attention that our country knowingly burned fallen war heroes in the same crematorium used to burn animals; I did some research, and yes, it's true.  He slaps us in the face with how we are borrowing money from a country that killed our dogs with poison dog food.
     Chapters have catchy titles that include "Please Drug Your Children," "I Had Sex with Kathie Lee Gifford (And She Was Amazing)," and "Self-Esteem This."  Many of the chapters shouldn't be stated here - without picking up a copy of the book and reading them in the context that the author meant them to be.
     In this ever changing political climate, Denis even takes on gay marriage, stating" "It says somewhere in the piece of paper that this great country of ours was founded upon that all men are created equal.  Bullshit.  All men are created equal as long as they don't want to blow each other…and then decided to fall in love…and suddenly express a desire…by getting married."  He goes on to say that he knows several gay men and woman in relationships who would put a lot of hetero couples to shame.    
    As an Equal Opportunity Offender, Leary doesn't disappoint.  Drawing on events from childhood, conversations with his mother, and observations in everyday life, Leary  goes for the jugular - and doesn't let go.  At times exhausting and uncomfortable, Why We Suck is not for everyone, and quite a few people may throw it down in disgust - only to pick it up in curiosity later.
     I once heard a person ignorantly refer to him as "Hanoi Denis," but I was too polite to point out that this is America - not Vietnam.  And that while this person was probably getting drunk, Denis got behind the wheel of a fire truck in New York City on September 11, 2001, to help out.

Nick Manix is a professional writer and journalist who splits his time between Central Texas and New Orleans.

(Cover image courtesy