lets loose with
Dispatches From the Nut Farm,” a rapid grab-bag book.
Roseanne Barr’s new book “Roseannearchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm,”
published by the Gallery imprint of Simon & Schuster Jan. 4, is a mixed
bag of razor-sharp rants, autobiography, political commentary and
stream-of-consciousness feminism that sometimes hits its marks, and
other times gets lost in tangents.
With its cover photo of Roseanne in Che Guevara gear toting a rifle and
bombs dropping in the background, the book finds her playing her
personality to the hilt, just as she did in her last HBO special four
years ago, “Blonde and Bitchin’” (see review, 11/2/06). At almost 300
pages, “Roseannearchy” is a substantial and jam-packed book, certainly.
The best bits come in the middle, with chapters on sex, Barr’s showbiz
experiences and the true story of her national anthem singing misfire.
Some chapters are pure storytelling, others are like extended stand-up
pieces, as with “S-E-X, Do We HAVE to Talk About It?” In this chapter
she takes on cougars, younger women with older men and the
Viagra-industrial complex. An example – “I’ve always thought that just
about the lamest thing you can call sexual activity is ‘making love,’”
she writes. “Give me a break. Two horny, slobbering, thrashing human
rolling around on top of each other are not ‘making love.’”
Barr recalls some of the lesser known pioneering moments of her
shorter-lived follow-up to her hit sitcom, the syndicated talk show
titled “The Roseanne Show,” which she says deserves credit for a lot of
today’s reality TV landscape, having aired “plus-size beauty contests,
plus-size talent contests, a ‘Date My Daughters’ segment, Judge
Roseanne, rehab shows, hemp cooking shows. ..” Barr writes. “I got used
to seeing ideas I thought of get picked up and copied, and I was
actually thrilled about it. Imitation is the sincerest form of
She dishes on her ex-husband Tom Arnold at points, but blames herself
equally for the problems in their marriage and its failure. Barr writes
about their co-dependent nature and miscommunications that actually
contributed to what she calls her “singing accident” and its aftermath.
“Roseannearchy,” as you might guess from these instances, does veer
wildly across Barr’s past and her views, but like its author’s cover
pose, when firing widely and strafing with bombs, enough of the
ammunition is going to hit targets to be effective. In this case,
though, the effect is laughter.