October 8, 2012

Which section of the Sunday newspaper would the candidates turn to first?

It's the Sunday between Christmas and New Year's Day and not much is going on. Which section of the Sunday newspaper would various famous politicians turn to first because it's most personally interesting?

Richard Nixon: Reports from foreign capitals, followed by the NFL news.

Ronald Reagan: The op-eds

Adlai Stevenson: The society page.

Bill Clinton: The movie news. (Maybe there's an Air Force One sequel in the works! Air Force One IIAir Force Two? Hmmmhmm ... needs work.)

George W. Bush: The sports page to catch up on the baseball Hot Stove League news.

Lyndon Johnson: Politics

Mitt Romney: The business section

Barack Obama: The book reviews, especially new upper middle-brow fiction. Obama has good taste in novels (better than mine), such as David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet. (That's a Shogun-like story of the Dutch trading outpost in Japan on an island in Nagasaki harbor in 1799. It really takes off toward end when a British navy ship arrives, as in the Nagasaki Harbor Incident of 1808 when an improvising British captain almost conquered the Dutch entrepot. Mitchell is tremendous at explaining the real-time decision making of an Age of Nelson captain. Mitchell would make a good successor to C.S. Forester and Patrick O'Brian as a writer of sea stories.)

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure Obama is a voracious reader of fiction. Could be show. After all, we believed it of JFK.

Anonymous said...

Remember "The Far Side" by Gary Larson. Reading of Romney's sense of humor, if that were running today (it isn't), I'd guess he'd turn to it first.

Anonymous said...

Obama would probably turn to the last pages of The Village Voice first.

Harry Baldwin said...

Wouldn't Bill Clinton turn to the personal ads first, just to be sure there wasn't some new kink being offered that he hadn't tried yet?

If it was the Sunday NYTimes, he'd look at the sexy ads in the magazine section. Also celebrity news.

Maybe the crossword, if there are any reporters around to impress.

I think that Obama would be primarily interested in the sports section, like G.W. Bush, and after that celebrity gossip, like Clinton.

Noah172 said...

Al Gore: science page

Newt Gingrich: ditto

Bob Dole: obituaries

Lindsey Graham: NYT "Commitments" page, with all those gay weddings, like the one that Graham wishes he could have if he weren't a Republican in South Carolina

John McCain: any foreign war stories

John Kerry: NYT travel section (exotic locales for the rich and adventurous)

Sarah Palin: comic strips

William Howard Taft: restaurant reviews (hey, getting to 300 pounds takes work!)

Woodrow Wilson: editorials (lots of internationalist, elite liberal sanctimonious bull****)

Auntie Analogue said...

Bill Clinton would turn first to the personals subsection POSITIONS WANTED.

Then he'd clip coupons from the dry cleaners' ads.

Steve Sailer said...

"Bob Dole: obituaries"

And cackle gleefully after reading each one.

Anonymous said...

Air Force One, Two, Electric Boogaloo.

Clyde said...

Reading this blog sometimes seems like Groundhog Day.

Anonymous said...

@8:06 anon-
Romney seems like a far side fan to you?

If he came out as a far side fan, I'd vote for him.

Anonymous said...

Romney seems like a far side fan to you?

If he came out as a far side fan, I'd vote for him.

______

Yeah, from what I've read, he does.

I miss Larson.

Anonymous said...

@8:06 anon-
Romney seems like a far side fan to you?

If he came out as a far side fan, I'd vote for him.

_______

Not that it's original or that most males haven't tried it, one reporter said Romney does the most perfect Stein "Bueller, Bueller" that he's ever heard. I guess on the campaign plane he overheard Romney asking where someone was and when no one knew, he came out with it. The reporter added that the press pool covering him was aware of his sense of humor.


Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure George W. Bush would turn first to the NYT "How To Be An Evil Traitor Who Betrays America" page, or perhaps the "How To Be The Worst President In American History" page. That's still in the Book Review, right?

Maybe we can really just blame Chip and Michiko for America's worst and most evil president. Maybe it was all really just a prank of theirs.

It would explain a lot.

Auntie Analogue said...

Newt Gingrich: reads 'The Onion' and swears it's the real news.

Mohammed Morsi: scans classifieds for church fire sales.

Hillary Clinton: goes over the Men Seeking Women personals for clues to ads placed by her husband.

Robert Mugabe: peruses real estate classifieds for certain "foreclosures."

Fran├žois Hollande: the society pages of 'The Daily Worker.'

Michael Bloomberg: inspects the restaurant ads for illegal specials on large soft drinks.

Vladimir Putin: Health & Fitness section.

Jerry Brown: scans entire newspaper, almost always in vain, for any mention of Teilhard de Chardin or Thomas Merton.

Enrique Pena Nieto: the Univison program schedule.

Janet Napolitano: just one item in the financial pages - Samsonite stock.

Pope Benedict: Style & Fashion.

Kathleen Sebelius: Men's Fashion.

Rick Santorum: Nuptials.

Chris Christie: ads for halal meat sales.

Eric Holder: reads everything black on white.

Benjamin Netanyahu: enjoys belly laughs as he devours 'The Washington Post.'

Joe Biden: Quote: "I don't need to read newspapers, I already have everything on the tip of my tongue."

Barack Obama: horoscope, and, in the funnies, 'Non Sequitur.'













pat said...

Be careful Steve. You are now captured by your analysis that Obama is a writer of rare grace and delicacy. Therefore you buy into this notion that Obama is a man of letters who consumes serious modern novels.

I'm sceptical about his identity as a writer. First of all if he's a writer why doesn't he ever write?

I'm trying to be a writer myself. That's why I write all these comments. I try to see if I can fashion a decent mini-essay every day on whatever topic you introduce. Some times I try to be humorous. Sometimes I try to be solemn. But mainly I just practice. Jerry Pournelle suggested in one of his columns that the way to learn to write is to write. Malcolm Gladwell got rich pushing his deep insight that "practice makes perfect".

Obama is unique as a Harvard Law Review president in that he never wrote. There are no records of his letters. He doesn't write his own speeches. Indeed he never seems to have written anything at all except for the two autobiographies. Each bio has a different style which tends to support the ghost writer narrative.

Writing is work and Obama never has been able to sustain a long effort at an unpleasant task. He needs to appear on a stage before his worshipers every few days. He's at social functions or hobnobbing with celebrities continuously. He does not seem to be the kind of guy who locks himself in an attic room every morning and doesn't emerge until he has a thousand words on paper.

There is much more evidence that Ronald Reagan was a writer but everyone thinks he only read Zane Gray.

This list of novels that has emerged from his press agent feeds into Obama's image as a literary maven. That could be because it's true, or it could be because it just fits so nicely.

Consider the alternatives. They could have released a list of history books - but Obama clearly knows little history. They could have listed books on economics - same objection. Some commenters above think Gore and Gingrich read science - they don't, but Obama must read even less. Gingrich has an image as a nerdy scientist type but he's really a pretty good writer of alternative history. He might read Mitchell, not Obama.

No, I think a "man of letters" is the safest cover for Obama. No one in the press room is likely to engage the President in an impromptu discussion of the modern novel.

Albertosaurus

katie roiphe said...

Speaking of book reviews, here's a snippet from one by a famous book reviewer.

Doubtless _____ is right in implying all through his books that intelligent women are very rare animals, ...

Who's the author? Who's the reviewer?

not a hacker said...

Obama would probably turn to the last pages of The Village Voice first.

The Voice printed the greatest quote ever around 1996. Director of NYC Gay Men's Health Crisis:

"We're never going to solve this epidemic until people understand how important it is for me to have a cock in my mouth and another in my ass."

Marlowe said...

Albertosaurus wrote: There is much more evidence that Ronald Reagan was a writer but everyone thinks he only read Zane Gray.

It surprised me recently to read that one of his biographers examined copies of works by Mises and Hayek in Reagan's library annotated by the man himself. He did a good job of concealing his intellectual side.

The problem with Mr. Obama comes down to his fixation on himself as the object of his writing. He's the Kid who grew up in the Me decade. The President ought to contemplate the country and not his navel.

Carol said...

There is much more evidence that Ronald Reagan was a writer but everyone thinks he only read Zane Gray.

According to at least one biographer, he was a great reader of nonfiction, with a library full of dog-eared, annotated works like Das Capital and the like. And we know he was a prolific letter writer.


Kylie said...

"Speaking of book reviews, here's a snippet from one by a famous book reviewer.

Doubtless _____ is right in implying all through his books that intelligent women are very rare animals, ...

Who's the author? Who's the reviewer?"


Gissing. Orwell.

Not sure what the point of this comment was but I'm always happy for the chance to claim Google as my BFF.

David said...

Didn't you already post this about a month ago?

Anonymous said...

"According to at least one biographer, he was a great reader of nonfiction, with a library full of dog-eared, annotated works like Das Capital and the like. And we know he was a prolific letter writer."

Reagan also took a relatively active role in writing his major speeches.

I suspect if Reagan had taken the SAT, he's the kind of guy who would have had a verbal score significantly higher than his math score: say ~700 verbal, ~600 math.

pat said...

Marlowe above picked up on my passing comment that Reagan was more of a writer than Obama.

Reagan was rather like Eisenhower. He worked hard at being underestimated. Obama and Clinton go the other way. They try to be seen as geniuses. This seems to be another Republican versus Democrat difference.

Albertosaurus