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Brief Rant

May 15, 2007

Two troubling things about this brief piece from Fox News: What’s on the 2008 Candidates’ Night Stands

First of all, there’s no excuse for this kind of editorializing:

Barack Obama recently finished “Gilead,” a novel about an old man’s words to his 7-year-old son. The man, in Gilead, Iowa, believes he’s on the verge of death and wants his son to know him later in life. Obama, a child of divorce, barely knew his own father.

Second, I object to the suggestion that reading material is kept “on the nightstand,” meaning that reading is only something one does at the end of the day, after all the important stuff — just something to occupy the few minutes before lying down and falling asleep. This has nothing to do with Faux News, but it’s such a common conception that we simply must fight it at all times.

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5 comments

  1. Perhaps, their point was that Obama was drawn to that particular book about a father and son relationship precisely because he did not have much of a relationship with his own father. In that context, the remark makes perfect sense to me.


  2. I thought of this too, but I still don’t think it’s appropriate. Even if the writer had direct evidence that this was the reason Obama chose the book, there’s still no reason to point out that he is “child of divorce.”


  3. I agree that the comment was inappropriate editorializing. Why not comment that Obama might have chosen the book because a) he appreciates good writing, b) he was interested in the issues of love, redemption, faith and justice in Robinson’s book, or c) the book was highly lauded? (or any number of other plausible answers). It was a stupid comment to make. Were there similar comments made regarding the other candidates’ reading selections?


  4. The only thing close is this treatment of the frontrunning Republican:

    Rudy Giuliani, former prosecutor and New York mayor, delved into a lawyer’s drama of revenge set in the Hamptons — a tale of money, sex and murder.

    No commentary here, and it’s probably just me reading into it, but money and sex are certainly a part of Giuliani’s legacy…


  5. Ted- I’m tagging you for the “eight things about me” meme. Don’t feel obligated but it would be fun to read your list. The rules are posted in a recent post on my site.



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