And The New Yorker is pettiness defined as it struggles to come to grips with the fact that President Bush is reading Camus - so taken aback are they by the president’s climbing gall in reading Camus that they feel they must lecture him about it.
Nonetheless, it is hard not to brood, in old-fashioned Kremlinological style, on the meanings of George W. Bush’s syllabus for this particular summer. Where in summers past he has read fiction by Tom Wolfe, or a comprehensive history of salt—both very good things in the right seasonal doses—this summer, perhaps under the pressure of events, he has embarked on a more strenuous list. An amazingly strenuous list, actually. It includes Albert Camus’s novel “The Stranger”; Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin’s book about Robert Oppenheimer and the invention of the atomic bomb; and Richard Carwardine’s new biography of Abraham Lincoln.
Already, it seems, the President has polished off the Camus and had a debate with his new press secretary, Tony Snow, on the origins of existentialism. Now, it’s possible to feel misgivings about the President’s ranch reading…But it is the sunny optimism of humanism to imagine that books change lives, and that no one can come away from “The Stranger” entirely unaffected, particularly one who is, as he reminds us, a wartime President.
The writer, Adam Gopnik, does manage to toss a small and almost-not-condescending dono toward Dubya: It sounds almost like the beginnings of wisdom, or, at least, a compulsory fall reading list for us all.
What a foppish snot. What disagreeable, nauseating snobs. These folk don’t take themselves too, too seriously, do they? I wonder how they can reproduce with their noses so high in the air?
Last year, of course, it was that self-revealingly prejudiced snob Mark Kurlansky who couldn’t believe that moron Bush was reading his book:
In fairness, Kurlansky does admit: “What I find fascinating, and it’s probably a positive thing about the White House, is they don’t seem to do any research about the writers when they pick the books.”
Think about that for a second. Basically what Kurlansky, the “liberal” is saying is that he is suprised and fascinated that the guy he hates is…umm…not prejudiced…as he himself apparently is. Sounds like projection to me, anyway. Like Kurlansky is admitting that he would research someone before he deigned to read their book.
Such sophisticates, they are. They know and understand all things. And all that they hate, they are become.
Why did I choose that title? Showing off. I read it in a Camus novel at the age of 18. But then again I had been reading Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Camus, Kafka, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Bronte, Jules Verne, Bradbury, HG Wells, Dickens, DH Lawrence, Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, Shakespeare, Austin, Poe, Hersey, Orwell, and Faulkner to mention a few since I was 15 years old. Fancy that. A hick kid from Oklahoma who could read.