Monday, December 27, 2010

Yeah, and he never invented a pendulum, either

Oh, wait. That was that other Foucault.

Anyway, marking a new record for casting swine before pearls, W's record of presidentin' is examined at length in the London Review of Books, by Caspar Eliot Weinberger. Here's an excerpt:

Decision Points holds the same relation to George W. Bush as a line of fashion accessories or a perfume does to the movie star that bears its name; he no doubt served in some advisory capacity. The words themselves have been assembled by Chris Michel (the young speechwriter and devoted acolyte who went to Yale with Bush’s daughter Barbara); a freelance editor, Sean Desmond; the staff at Crown Publishing (who reportedly paid $7 million for the book); a team of a dozen researchers; and scores of ‘trusted friends’. Foucault: ‘What difference does it make who is speaking?’ ‘The mark of the writer is … nothing more than the singularity of his absence.’

As a postmodern text, many passages in the book are pastiches of moments from other books, including scenes that Bush himself did not witness. These are taken from the memoirs of members of the Bush administration and journalistic accounts such as Bob Woodward’s Plan of Attack and Bush at War. To complete the cycle of postmodernity, there are bits of dialogue lifted from Woodward, who is notorious for inventing dialogue.

We need a word like schadenfreude to describe the feeling of taking delight in intellectual elitism without even a shred of guilt.

(h/t: Ken Layne)

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