One-Dimensional Man

Via Wood s Lot, I came across this cogent essay in CTheory by Carol Vanderveer Hamilton in which that flickering sensation you get when watching George W. Bush on television is explained. The most effective critical writing reveals the known as newly informed insight. Hamilton's dispassionate prose is devastating in its directness:
Kosinski's Chance is unable to read or write. "I do not read any newspapers," said Chance. "I watch TV." In an October 17, 2003, interview on Fox, George W. Bush volunteered that he did not read newspapers. The emptiness of both George W. Bush and Chance the Gardener is on display yet remains invisible to their admirers. This emptiness in turn is a product of their illiteracy. Those who are proposing Chance for the vice-presidency significantly praise him as a "blank page," a man with no personal history.
Bush is the blank page onto which we have written our desires. It is fascinating, in a way, to see many of those who supported the Iraq adventure now pulling back, bailing out, reversing course & etc. -- without every acknowledging what anyone who could read the news papers knew before the war began. That the whole thing was based on a shallow fantasy of American power, which they misrepresented as American virtue. And the administration's reliable enablers continue to assert that those who oppose the war are traitors.And when the president speakes these days, he doesn't even try to disguise the shit that flows out of his mouth.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

1 thought on “One-Dimensional Man”

  1. Well, what Bush meant at the time was that he reads his Presidential Daily Briefing, not a normal newspaper. His ignorance arises from the fact that he failed to realize the the PDB is, basically, a super-paper, with items culled from major news organizations across the country. You want it to mean that he is ignorant like Chance was. However, that is not the case.

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