Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Salty Wit

While it may come as a suprise to some who visit here on a regular basis, manners are actually a big deal to me. I have an abiding dislike of the impolite and ungracious.

That's why an asinine sentence I read this morning has been driving me aboslutely batty.

The Los Angeles Times has a piece on George W. Bush's summer vacation reading list. According to the Times, among the books the president took to Crawford with him are Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky (which just sounds riveting), Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar by Edvard Radzinsky, and The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry.

So here's a little nugget contained in the newspaper story:
Kurlansky said he was surprised to hear that Bush had taken his book to the ranch: "My first reaction was, 'Oh, he reads books?' "

The author said he was a "virulent Bush opponent" who had given speeches denouncing the war in Iraq.
Oh what a rich, rapier-like wit. The esteemed author has managed to mine a vein previously undiscovered by comedians, satirists, and critics--that the president is stupid. What, no pungent wisecracks about Eisenhower's golfing? No devastating bon mots about FDR's cigarrette holder? Reconstitute the Algonquin Round Table, because Dorothy Parker lives.

I find it hard to believe that this author would be willing to insult one of the few people in Western Civilization who actually bought and is reading his stultifyingly boring 484-page treatise on salt. When told that the president was reading his book, it seems a more proper (and accurate) response would have been along the lines of "Oh, so he's the one."

I would love to see the president review the book during a prime-time press conference, declaring it "turgid, pedantic, and impenetrable. After reading this ponderous paper-waster, I've experienced more suffering than Cindy Sheehan will ever know. I, with the rest of the world, anxiously await the author's much-anticipated follow-up epic on the history of parmesan cheese."

If they need any help with that review, I'll be right here.

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