If you’ve never heard Jim Hightower speak, then you’re in for a surprising experience. He’s a real Texan, always pictured with his cowboy hat and bushy mustache, and his voice sounds like he should be selling Jimmy Dean sausages. His talks are rich with down-home colloquialisms like, “Hogwash and horsehockey to that,” and “The CEOs and swells are getting fatter than butcher’s dogs,” and “If you find that you’ve dug yourself into a hole, the very first thing to do is quit digging.” At the same time, he’s funny and intelligent and has a knack for explaining global politics in a very common-sense manner. He’ll talk about things like democracy, and how it’s never handed down to the people, it’s taken by the agitators, and how that’s a good thing: “The agitator, after all, is the center post in the washing machine that gets all the dirt out.” I’ve read a lot of articles by Jim Hightower, but I’d never actually heard him speak until I got this CD. Now, I see that, not only is Hightower a great writer, he’s an even better speaker. He’s able to take global politics and economics and make them understandable and exciting and hopeful. And it’s the hopefulness that really sets Hightower apart from other political writers. He not only discusses the problems of corporate control of the US government and the problems of the WTO and IMF, he makes the issues understandable and he offers viable, obtainable solutions.
One of the things that is interesting about this CD is that half of it was recorded before Sept. 11th and half of it was recorded after Sept. 11th, and you can hear the difference in attitude and approach that that event inspired. Another thing that’s interesting about it is that, unlike most spoken word CDs, this is one that you’ll listen to again and again. It doesn’t matter how many times you hear him call George W. Bush “an absolute corporate wet dream,” it’s still funny. This CD is a great introduction to a brilliant public speaker, and even if you’re familiar with Hightower, this is well worth the twelve bucks. – Sean Carswell (Alternative Tentacles, PO Box 419092, SF, CA90042)