Grant McCracken writes about George W.’s use of the phrase “Hard Work” in the presidential debate last night:
Bush used ?hard work? 11 times last night perhaps because this phrase has special resonance for those who risk for a living. The phrase allowed the President to say, ?Listen, what I am doing in the White House is what you do every day.? It allowed him to say, ?We are both working hard because that is the way we respond to the risk that defines our lives and our worlds.? ?Hard work? was perhaps a code word. Those who live by risk got it immediately. Those who do not heard it as everyday language. Clever President Bush. He managed to sneak a rallying cry into the most ordinary little phrase. It allowed him to claim common purpose with Republicans, real and potential.
Even more seriously, the NEA report is also likely to serve as a good excuse for newspapers, magazines, and publishers to withdraw whatever flimsy support they now do give to serious writing in this country. Why review or publish writer A or novel B when everyone knows most people don’t read even moderately challenging books anyway? It will also allow states and localities to withdraw support from libraries and other reading-related services they might provide. “Reading at Risk” will probably prove to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it’s the sort of thing you might expect when the government (the NEA is the government, you know) and all of its political hacks, functionaries, and tiresome scolds get involved in cultural matters.
Matt Yglesius gives generous quotes from various partisan sources about who won the debate (mainly liberal).
At the risk of sounding like a philistine, I am a big fan of this woman’s poetry , but I don’t know how to blog about it. It’s easier to respond to the latest political cause or trendy outrage (or literary tiff). Much harder to respond to literary works like this. (And the master of poetry blogging Wood s lot usually just repeats things verbatim without commentary.
Pet political cause of the day: Extraordinary Rendition. No, it’s a serious subject, and I contacted my congressman about it.
Lately I’ve noticed that I have a complete inability to eat sweets (I still love them, but they keep me wired all night). My attitude toward food has certainly changed over time. In college I ate sweets like crazy and didn’t really care what I ate. Although I learned healthy eating and even self-produced a healthy eating cookbook in my twenties, when I worked in Eastern Europe I blew off dieting altogether. (I ate a lot of Snickers and cokes in Albania).
Although I still love the taste of cheesecake and ice cream and chocolate and a soft drink, the thought of drinking a 12 ounce coke just nauseates me, and I often avoid ice cream out of the fear I might eat more than I really need to. Partly, this is the result of sedentary lifestyle (when I exercise, my body is more accomodating to junk food), but it may be metabolism changing. My main motive for eating is no longer for pleasure but to sustain myself. That said, there is some delight in enjoying a new fruit; mangos for instance. And last winter, apparently there was a windfall of pomegranites raining down upon USA for some reason (and believe me, I stocked up). After pressing submit, I plan to eat a kiwi (ok, have I convinced you that I can use this blog to talk about the lovely mundanities of life?).