October 16, 2004

better left unread?

When I started reading tomorrow's New York Times Magazine profile of George W. Bush, I was fascinated. It confirmed what I've seen and suspected: this is a man who doesn't actually think, who doesn't know how to synthesize, how to analyze, and most of all, how to take in what other people say and alter his conclusions accordingly. He thinks like a child, everything oversimplified, everything black and white. Concrete thinking. He's never really gone through the school of hard knocks, he's never had to grow up. Not really. One description in particular confirms this for me. Bush in his 40's, attending board meetings for a big corporation (got on the board through a favor to his dad, of course); never anything of import to say, just a lot of dirty jokes (and this after his supposed crisis of faith). The article gives more chilling anecdotes by far, but this one reveals the emptiness of the man. The rest follows from that.

Like I said, when I started reading, I was fascinated by the glimpse behind the curtain to a man who prefers secrecy. Turns out he also prefers lockstep unthinking loyalty. Again, I'm not surprised. But somewhere in the final third of the article, I became very very depressed. People on the religious right worship this guy. They believe as he apparently does that he's God's chosen prezdint. And boy does he have plans for his second term. Oh yes. Does he ever.

God help us all. And may we wake up on the morning of November 3rd to a prezdint in past tense.

Posted by Tamar at October 16, 2004 11:02 PM

I have noticed, though that the NY Times has a decidedly anti-GOP slant to it, and also what NPR I get to hear does as well. I wonder why, then do I hear people say that W has comandeered the press for his own nefarious purposes. I guess its just really easy in this tense and conflicted time to find whatever one needs to back up one's emotional selection. I had a discussion with a colleague recently and she ended up saying that basically she just quoted everything she heard from (whatever her sources are, but I don't want to get specific) and that she really had no knowledge of her candidate of choice, it was just that she hated the other one so very much. Then she admitted that her hatred wasn't apparently based on any fact that she could verify. So there's the thing, this election seems to be highly emotional, but very little fact checking going on, at least in my part of the country. I myself do vote, every time, unless sometimes I miss a local election if I am away, and I do appreciate that everyone is able to voice their thoughts. I feel very buffeted about by all the emotions running high. It seems that whatever candidate one supports, there is an equal and opposite reason to suport the opposite candidate. I guess that I too, will be awfully glad to have November 3rd roll around.

Oh dear. I don't mean to imply that you yourself don't have facts. I see clearly that you indeed do, even if it were only the religious thing, but of course there is so much more that you can cite.

Okay, bye!

Posted by: bee at October 17, 2004 04:46 AM

My favorite line from the article: "Faith heals the heart and the spirit, but it doesn't do much for analytical skills."

Posted by: tracing at October 17, 2004 03:41 PM

Bee, the question of a biased media is a huge one, but in essence, I think it boils down to the fact that most big media outlets have been afraid to act as the watchdogs they used to be -- their fear of being shut out of the White House was grounded in truth, it seems. But things are changing, especially the past month. I read a few lefty political bloggers today saying the same thing: that it feels like the media is waking out of a years-long hibernation and starting to speak up again.

On the other issue: I see the same thing you do. People regurgitating talking points and not much else, on both sides (but especially on the other side (cough)). But it's not that hard to get informed, really. I feel like I know a lot about Kerry AND Bush now. Enough, certainly.

(And Tracing, I agree, that line was a zinger!)

Posted by: Tamar at October 17, 2004 11:38 PM