39 Following

Another fine mess

Reader fan critic teacher reader fan.

Currently reading

Ottessa Moshfegh
Knife Fight and Other Struggles
David Nickle
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
Andrew Solomon
The Good Lord Bird
James McBride
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (New Edition)
Derek Bok
Dissident Gardens
Jonathan Lethem
Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s
Kim Newman
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
James Gleick
Complete Novels
Dashiell Hammett, Steven Marcus
Renegade: The Making of a President - Richard Wolffe No, darn it, I can't. Quit with the chanting. I gave up on this way, way too fast. For the record: Wolffe first popped into my consciousness in Alexandra Pelosi's documentary about the reporters covering Bush in the 2000 election, and he appeared sly, funny, smart, and pretty engaged with the issues--not just a horse-race reporter, not suckered by W's awshucks amiability (nor fooled into considering the eventual Pres the dolt he seemed often to be). And he's a mainstay on MSNBC now, a guy whose precision slips like a scalpel between the ribs of so many bloviating pundits. (I recall, in particular, a moment during the '08 campaign, on David Gregory's irritating horse-race show, with its irritating multi-box talking-head format that resembled some strange C-Span junkie's reconstruction of the Brady Bunch, where Joe Scarborough was blathering on about how everyone in the media had gotten fooled by some assumption about the campaign, and Wolffe pipes up--his rather intense eyes lasered directly at the camera, the shadow of a smile on his face--"Not everyone." Bighead Joe pulls up short, and says, "What?" And Wolffe repeats that not everyone in the media bought into the assumption, that print journalists had little to say about that storyline. Joe went into one of his patented defensive attacks, and Wolffe just continued staring, and not-smiling smiling. Wolffe is an apt name.)

So why not read this, Mike? Throughout the long long long campaign I read easily an hour's worth of mainstream and net journalism every day, watched way too much usually-pointless tv punditry, carefully prayed five times daily at the altar of fivethirtyeight.com for a sense of calm about what would happen. Picking up Wolffe, I found myself not so much reassessing, or rehashing, or even reconstructing--but sinking into a kind of malaise that reincarnated my general state of mind throughout much of 2008. I haven't really even begun to forget, and given the current din around death panels, it's all to easy to see time collapsing, to feel completely unmoored, unstuck a la Billy Pilgrim, wandering from one outraged and outrageous political shenanigan to the next, the varied issues and events blurring into one continuous, unfocused headache-inducing shouting match. That is depressing.

So maybe, at this moment in this country, it's the wrong context for this kind of record of the campaign. Maybe it is simply too early to return. Maybe I know too much, and I need to forget before I can really engage with what 2008 meant. Wolffe's an able, adept reporter, and he tells a strong clear story. Blame me, America, blame me for giving up. Don't I have some Ellroy around?