Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Throwin' the Book at Bush

As might be fairly evident to even the most casual visitor to this blog, I am not the world's biggest fan of our Clod-in-Chief

But even I will have to concede that occasionally the bias of some mainstream news media outlets can border on the stupefying. and so it is with a Feb. 7 New York Times story that muses about why on earth Dubya would profess to enjoy Tom Wolfe's latest novel, "I Am Charlotte Simmons."

Snarky anti-Dubya screeds are fine and dandy with me -- provided they're not masquerading as news. And so it was a little disappointing to see Times writer Elisabeth Bumiller baring her fangs at the prospect of dissing Bush and another favorite target of progressives, the inimitable Tom Wolfe. In recent years, the author of such wondrous works as "The Right Stuff" and "A Man in Full" has incurred the wrath of liberals for his tweaking of their most sacred cows.

How does this tripe pass for an actual news story:

"It is unclear exactly what Mr. Bush liked so much about the book ("I Am Charlotte Simmons"), which is told from the point of view of Charlotte Simmons, a young woman from the God-fearing backwoods of North Carolina who is the first in her family to go to college. Charlotte, who is at first shocked by the booze and debauchery she encounters at Mr. Wolfe's Dupont University, modeled on Duke among others, eventually succumbs in a chapter-long deflowering scene at the hands of a drunken fraternity rat. Then she sinks into depression.

"Mr. Bush, who was the hard-drinking, hard-partying president of Delta Kappa Epsilon, the jock fraternity at Yale, is also the father of two partying daughters, Jenna and Barbara. Jenna graduated last year from the University of Texas and Barbara from Yale, and on neither campus is the milieu of Charlotte Simmons entirely foreign.

"Does Mr. Bush like the book because it is a journey back to his keg nights at Deke, or because it offers a glimpse into the world of his daughters' generation? Or does he like the writing? Or is it all of the above? The White House won't say. Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, did not respond to phone calls or e-mail messages last week asking about Mr. Bush's interest in Mr. Wolfe's book.

"So perhaps Mr. Wolfe had some thoughts. In relatively short order he was located last Friday at a conference at his alma mater in Lexington, Va., Washington and Lee University. He was asked if he thought it unusual that a 58-year-old man, that is, the president, had so embraced his book.

"'Well, a 74-year-old man wrote it,' Mr. Wolfe replied. He said he had no idea why Mr. Bush liked it. 'I imagine he responded to the blinding talent,' Mr. Wolfe added, chuckling, 'but beyond that, I'm just not sure.'"

Hmm... could it be because Wolfe is a good writer? Could it be because Bush secretly wishes he were a woman? Could it be that this is emblematic of sorry journalism? Like I said, put this on the editorial page. This isn't news.


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