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Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Tonight on TDS, Michael Lewis, Author of Home Game; and on TCR, Eric Schlosser, Journalist, commentator, Food, Inc.

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There are a whole bunch of Michael Lewis-es out there. Google News is cluttered with stuff about this one football guy, and there's a medical researcher (talking about babies blushing), Rhode Island's Director of the Department of Transportation, and ooh! a guy who escaped from jail (he got caught, but his co-escapee is still out there somewhere). And a few others withinteresting stories.

But tonight's Michael Lewis is the one who was on Colbert not long ago, talking about the money industry. Maybe we'll get some of that tonight, but I doubt it. He's here to sell his just-in-time-for-Father's Day release, "Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood." Here's Kirkus (via B&N):

Lewis (The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, 2006, etc.) updates and expands his Slate series on the business of parenting. After the birth of each of his three children, the author promptly drew up notes on how he tried manfully to fill the demanding job of fatherhood. As wife and family CEO Tabitha provided guidance, the generally inattentive and distracted Lewis recorded the nuttiness of raising daughters Quinn and Dixie and their little brother Walker. It's an engaging journal that selectively details how Dad grew up as well, as caution replaced airy hope and emotion displaced rationality. The first child was, for a while, subjected to the vicissitudes of living in Paris and Gallic notions of childrearing; the French experience seems to have made her a cool analyst of any situation. Back stateside, a second girl was born and sibling rivalry erupted. In California, the couple's third child arrived, and Dad elucidates the effects of scant sleep, management of Mom's postpartum melancholy and infant Walker's frightening illness. "If you want to feel the way you're meant to feel about the new baby," writes Lewis, "you need to do the grunt work." Only with eternal vigilance can fathers insure the well-being and personal development of their progeny. Lewis also follows the trail explored by Dr. Cosby and others investigators of fatherhood, and he includes a riff on his personal surgery-no more children are expected in the Lewis household. Brief, clever and frank-a good gift for Father's Day. Author tour to New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Denver, Portland, Ore., Washington, D.C.

Those Slate articles are here, and there's book excerpts floating around. And there are reviews, some more unpleasant than others. This excerpt from the NPR intro might give you an idea of the shape of things:

Somewhere along the line, the American male sat at the negotiating table with the American female and got fleeced, according to author Michael Lewis. The modern American father has new responsibilities that his dad never had to manage.

"I got sort of frustrated at my ineptitude right after I had my first child and I was just amazed at how tougher a deal I had than my father," Lewis, father of three, tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.

His wife, former MTV news reporter, Tabitha Soren, "somehow got a deal my mother would have killed for and I couldn't understand what happened," he says....

The NYTimes review is titled "Reluctant Dad Fesses Up to Becoming Smitten Softy:"

Michael Lewis’s "Home Game" is meant for the man who has everything — including a grudging attitude toward raising his own children. Affecting a curmudgeonly stance that owes something to Professor Henry Higgins, Mr. Lewis writes of how he deigned not just to let a woman into his life, but also three children.

While his wife figures only tangentially in the book, is given scant credit for her efforts and is referred to as "incubator of the source material," the children become the center of Mr. Lewis’s universe, much to his initial horror. "Maternal love may be instinctive," he writes, with a touch of candor in a book that is otherwise gruffly facetious, "but paternal love is learned behavior."

...At times he veers close to real misanthropy. (About spreading illness: "School-aged children are the rats of our time.") But Mr. Lewis knows better than to cross that line....

...Stress and cynicism mount as Mr. Lewis contends with his wife’s postpartum depression and chooses a book by Malthus, who warned of the dangers of population growth, as his escapist reading. Still, the book’s sourpuss stance begins to weaken. And thanks to the birth of a son to whom he can say, "How you doin’, buddy?" Mr. Lewis is finally hooked....

That was one of the more thoughtful reviews -- many of them were either of the "sexist elitist crap!" or "woohoo sexism! And elitism too, while we're at it!" sort. Can't tell without having read the book, but I'm choosing to believe that the guy is observing and describing his ingrained sexist impulses without necessarily approving of them. Can't change anything if you don't let yourself admit it's there in the first place. Plus, when you turn your life into words on a page, sometimes you exaggerate for comic effect.

Well, I'm betting on cute, amusing anecdotes tonight. Or maybe not so much cute -- there's the story about his foul-mouthed three-year-old daughter, who scared away some bullies bothering her older sister in a hotel swimming pool by telling them she'd peed in the water -- does that count as 'cute?'

Y'know what, Colbert Nation web site search people? When I type, say, "Michael Pollan" into your search engine, I'm not looking for this:

Narrow Your Search: 9/11 (1), Alan (2), America (1), Author (1), balls (1), books (3), cocaine (1), Colbert Platinum (1), Congress (1), Democrats (1),More >> detainees (1), drugs (1), environment (1), ethnic (2), Expert (1), fast food (1), food (5), Formidable Opponent (1), gay/homosexual (1), Geneva Conventions (1), George W. Bush (1), government (1), Guantanamo Bay (2), health (4), high-fructose corn syrup (4), human rights (1), immigration (1), interview (2), intro (1), Jimmy (1), Jon Stewart (1), Jordan Carlos (2), laws (1), media (1), Michael Pollan (4), money (1), movies (2), Native American (1), Obama administration (1), on location (1), phone calls (1), pop culture (2), prison (1), protests (1), Recap (1), Republicans (2), restaurants (2), Robert Gibbs (1), sign off (1), Stephen's friends (2)

Especially when I have to "more" in order to find the actual term I searched for. Just saying.

So I was looking for Michael Pollan because I remembered looking at all this "Food, Inc." stuff recently. Tonight's guest Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) is a co-producer. Here's from Amazon:

For most Americans, the ideal meal is fast, cheap, and tasty. Food, Inc. examines the costs of putting value and convenience over nutrition and environmental impact. Director Robert Kenner explores the subject from all angles, talking to authors, advocates, farmers, and CEOs, like co-producer Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma), Gary Hirschberg (Stonyfield Farms), and Barbara Kowalcyk, who's been lobbying for more rigorous standards since E. coli claimed the life of her two-year-old son. The filmmaker takes his camera into slaughterhouses and factory farms where chickens grow too fast to walk properly, cows eat feed pumped with toxic chemicals, and illegal immigrants risk life and limb to bring these products to market at an affordable cost. If eco-docs tends to preach to the converted, Kenner presents his findings in such an engaging fashion that Food, Inc. may well reach the very viewers who could benefit from it the most: harried workers who don't have the time or income to read every book and eat non-genetically modified produce every day. Though he covers some of the same ground as Super-Size Me and King Korn, Food Inc. presents a broader picture of the problem, and if Kenner takes an understandably tough stance on particular politicians and corporations, he's just as quick to praise those who are trying to be responsible--even Wal-Mart, which now carries organic products. That development may have more to do with economics than empathy, but the consumer still benefits, and every little bit counts.

That's from the DVD description (pre-order for September release), but the companion book is already out (I saw it in Target last week. That bar-coded cow just jumps out at you).  There are a handful of reviews at RottenTomatoes, but the movie doesn't officially open until next week. And there's a whole lot of stuff worth readingonline. Probably more, but I have to go wash the sand out of my locally-grown spinach just now. It'll never become a breakfast omelet if I leave that part for the morning.

(Wanna buy the books? Try indiebound or bookfinder.com.)

Originally posted to TiaRachel on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 07:58 PM PDT.

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