Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Introducing the newly (self)appointed Presidential literary adviser, Tevi Troy

I've never heard of this guy (probably no surprise), but here he is making the astonishing case that the President is not allowed to read fiction because it sends the message that he is "out of touch with reality."


It gets better. Here is Troy's analysis of a couple of Obama's selections:
Beyond the issue of fiction vs. nonfiction, there is also the question of genre.The Bayou Trilogy has received excellent reviews, but it is a mystery series. While there is nothing wrong with that per se, not every presidential reading selection is worth revealing to the public. Bill Clinton, for example, used to love mysteries, but he did not advertise the titles of what he once called “my little cheap thrills outlet.” Room is another well-received novel, but it is about a mother and child trapped in an 11-by-11-foot room. This claustrophobic adventure does not strike me as the right choice for someone trying to escape the perception that he is trapped in a White House bubble.
The Grossman novel, which is about an Israeli woman who hikes to avoid hearing bad news about her soldier son, could create complications for Obama on the Israel front. Grossman is a well-known critic of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians, so reading this novel will likely not assuage those concerned about Obama’s views on the Middle East.
Troy goes on to note the preponderance of  "liberal" authors on Obama's reading list, to criticize the President for purchasing his books at a Martha's Vineyard bookstore that features mostly "liberal" selections, and to suggest that the POTUS is "intellectually incurious."

My first reaction to Obama's reading list is that I might want to check out some of those titles. Room in particular is said to be excellent, one of the best-reviewed novels of the past year. More to the point, I think the fact that the President enjoys reading for the sake of enjoyment, whatever the genre or "message" sent by the specific titles, sends an excellent message. I don't see anything particularly controversial or edgy in the list of titles presented, and I might think even more positively of the selection if there had been.

If anyone seems "intellectually incurious" here, it is Tevi Troy, for asserting that Obama's summer vacation reading list should be vetted to make sure it sends the correct "message." Maybe Mr. Troy could pick out some nice westerns for the Pres, or a Tom Clancy novel?

Of course, if Obama really wants to read some fiction that would help him to escape reality, he could always just go here, or here.

No comments:

Post a Comment