George Carlin, Author . Hyperion $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4013-0134-7

Stand-up comedian, TV writer and silver screen actor Carlin gets louder, angrier and more inventive with each passing year, and following 2001's bestselling Napalm & Silly Putty , he fires off searing satires, stinging social commentary and oblique one-liners in all directions. He targets Diane Sawyer's news delivery and the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, dopey athletes and cutthroat businessmen in wound up, jumpy paragraphs. Crudeness abounds ("Do you think Dale Evans ever yelled, 'Giddyup, Roy!' when she was getting fucked by Roy Rogers?"), but so does righteous indignation ("The energy criminals now refer to oil drilling as oil exploration . Instead of Mobil and Exxon, they'd rather you picture Lewis and Clark"). Some offbeat observations ("Wouldn't it be weird if they just buried you alive when you got to be sixty-five?") serve as springboards for mini-essays. But the theme, ultimately, is language. From the syntax of corporate rebranding (Patagonian tooth fish becomes Chilean sea bass) to the ethics of speechmaking ("Leader of the free world . I don't know when we're going to retire that stupid shit, but personally I've heard it quite long enough"), bad grammar, marketing lingo, meaningless sentiments, political correctness ("America's newest form of intolerance") and euphemisms all come under serious attack, making this a surprisingly fitting companion—a sort of bad-ass cousin—to Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots & Leaves . Agent, Jerold Hamza. (Oct. 12)

Forecast: Carlin's first book, Brain Droppings, spent some 40 weeks on the Times bestseller list; Napalm didn't match that, but it was no slouch. Expect Carlin's latest to hit the lists as soon as his Today show spot airs, if not before.

Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
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