Botox promoters promise to wipe away wrinkles, the signs of aging-the signs of time passing. Such “eternal youth” potions metaphorically help erase the very notion of time itself. In a phony world, increasingly dependent on smoke and mirrors, it is no wonder we look at elected officials like a cheap circus act. Saul Landau travels in and out of America, from the stress-filled cultures of Southern Californian businesspeople and poor towns in Texas, to the wildly booming streets of Hanoi and temples of Angkor Wat, to muse on just how low we have sunk.
The book explores the ironies of a time in which science explores the genetic code and masters the physics of instant global communication technology, while bible thumpers and talkers to Christ advocate medieval crusades to spread their order to infidels. Gore Vidal provides a scabrously funny introduction to a book by an author he says he “loves to steal ideas from.”