Thursday, July 18, 2002

I'm disappointed in Mark Crispin Miller's
The Bush Dyslexicon
, a review copy of which I just picked up at work. Miller is one of my favorite so-called public intellectuals. But in his introduction he promises the book will be neither politically driven nor a point blank machine gunning, and it's both. Although mercifully, it's not the foaming-at-the-mouth ideological grenade launching of Michael Moore on the left or Ann Coulter on the right (okay, the way, way left and way, way right, respectively). But it’s piling on, and it’s hindered by the delusion that the media is a vast right-wing conspiracy, which is as much of a reach as the conventional assertion that the media is a vast left-wing conspiracy. It is, of course, neither.

Besides, there is an element of Bush’s blunt rhetoric that can be refreshing after the soupy oratorical gloss of Reagan and Clinton. As Andrew Sullivan quoted in Salon last year, when Bush first visited Ground Zero and responded to someone in the crowd who shouted “We can’t hear you!”, he declared, “I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” As Sullivan wrote, “So much for his vaunted inarticulacy in unscripted moments.” It was inspired, it was authentic. I still think Bush is a little dorky and smaller than the office, he’s corrupted by his business history, and he’s downright Clintonian in his rationalization of his Harken doings. But Miller goes too far and oversimplifies.

I will quote one Miller observation, though, which is interesting: One of Bush’s rhetorical and logical patterns is "A is A because A is A." For example, Bush said, “There is a lot of speculation and I guess there is going to continue to be a lot of speculation until the speculation ends” (Austin-American Statesman, October 18, 1998), and there are countless similar structures. More in an interview with The Nation.

No comments: