As someone who regularly watches Fox News (shocker!), I’ve become fairly familiar with their anchors, hosts, and contributors. One of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite, among them is Greg Gutfeld. For the uninitiated, Gutfeld got his start on Fox via Red Eye, a sort of off-the-wall satirical late-night program that looked like it had about the budget my elementary school’s TV studio. Years went on, and when Fox needed a replacement for the increasingly unhinged Glenn Beck, they started a new show in his time slot: The Five. Gutfeld is one of the six (wait, that’s not right) hosts of that program, which was how I got introduced to him. I’m now an avid viewer of his more recent program which airs on weekend nights, which retains the comedic elements of Red Eye with a little bit more of a newsy angle a la The Colbert Report or The Daily Show — just not full of liberal twits. To the unfamiliar, he’s perhaps best described as a more level-headed Glenn Beck, with Dennis Miller’s wit, Bill Cosby’s love for sweaters, my four-year-old cousin’s love for unicorns, and my love for plaid shirts.
At any rate, as a follower of Gutfeld’s and supporter of his work, I of course had to buy his latest authorial escapade: How to be Right: The Art of Being Persuasively Correct.
As a young conservative college student with the onerous daily task of navigating the masses of thick-skulled, thin-skinned, Bernie-loving, Christian-hating, white-guilting college students (forgive my redundancy) I had hoped Gutfeld’s book might perhaps shed some light on possible argumentative methods I might employ, as well as offer some amusement via Gutfeld’s trademark sense of quirky (read: weird) humor. To my delight, How to be Right delivers on all fronts.
While it is essentially a how-to guide for successfully instigating and carrying on discourse with the Left, it reads more like an entertaining blog post which wouldn’t be unwelcome on a website like Breitbart.com. Gutfeld smartly walks the line between informative and entertaining, and while I laughed out loud at almost every page, I also felt compelled to take notes on some of his tips (I didn’t, which could explain the quality of this review).
How to be Right is a fairly comprehensive guide in addition to a funny one, and while some chapters offered me advice that I felt I already knew, others seemed to be especially geared toward helping me deal with problems I find myself struggling with on a daily basis. Chapter 6 is titled “Discarding your Outrage,” for instance.
Each chapter focuses on a central theme, expounded upon with a wealth of timely examples, ranging from explaining the necessity for humor by way of debunking the concept of white privilege, to the differences between Ben Carson and Donald Trump (turns out there are at least five). Gutfeld injects these examples with reminders of what the ultimate goal of the book is: to help conservatives like myself learn how to persuade others that their views are, in fact, the correct ones. He gives us examples of some of the primary arguments used against the Right and different ways to approach the answer without coming off as shrill, stupid, or any other way of saying “not persuasive”, in addition to maintaining a greater sense of satisfaction and deriving more pleasure from the debate than your opponent.
They say: “Your [political] party is sexist.”
They mean: “Explain to me you aren’t sexist.”
You say: “I’m not sexist. Some of my best wives are women!”
It’s easy to see that Gutfeld speaks from experience, and any conservative person who has spent time at a coffee shop, college campus, or public restroom will recognize several situations they’ve run into in the ones Gutfeld describes. Throughout the book are anecdotes and stories that at times help to drive his points home, and at other times are merely just well-written and entertaining breaks from the pseudo-lessons offered. Particularly amusing ones involve a gay bar for Muslims at Ground Zero and midgets at a magazine industry conference, but I’ll let you read the book for yourself. The stories help not only to maintain the balance of levity and depth, but serve to ground the book and show us just how much of an authority Gutfeld is on the art of persuasive correctness. He’s done his homework (another piece of advice he offers insistently), and it shows.
Because, as How to be Right demonstrates, persuasive correctness, particularly (or perhaps only) for conservatives, really is an art. It requires finesse, and the ability to simultaneously “out-compassion them”, “be Columbo”, and “say junk that people will remember”, all of which are chapter titles in Gutfeld’s book. Gutfeld really is a master at this, but his down-to-earth, conversational, and damn funny method of delivering his message makes his book not only impossible to put down, but surprisingly informative and helpful.
I honestly didn’t expect How to be Right to help me as much as it did. I still doubt that I’ll engage many of the liberals on my campus in lively debate any time soon (I’ve only recently managed to stop retching when I’m in the same room as one), but I feel far more confident now after having some of the tools offered by the book in my arsenal.
How to be Right: The Art of Being Persuasively Correct is not only consistently entertaining, it’s surprisingly informative, and even more surprisingly accessible. I’d recommend this book for anyone like myself who has trouble keeping their blood from boiling with rage when met with Hillary-worship, or not knowing how to answer a question from a liberal, even if it’s only because it’s a profoundly stupid question.
Which, let’s face it, almost all of them are.