Why I Read George Will

It’s not because I agree with most of what he says, or because I think that his conclusions are usually rational.  That may be why I read Tom Friedman or David Brooks, but it’s not why I read George Will.

I read George Will because of his references and allusions.

Look at Thursday’s piece:  “Gulliver’s travels took him to the Academy of Lagado, where ‘professors contrive new rules and methods’ for everything: ‘One man shall do the work of ten; a palace may be built in a week, or materials so durable as to last forever without repairing.  All fruits of the earth shall come to maturity at whatever season we see  fit to choose, and increase a hundredfold more than they do at present.”  There was, however, the ‘inconvenience’ that ‘none of these projects’ had yet come to fruition and ‘the whole country lies miserably waste.’ But ‘instead of being discouraged’, people were ‘fifty times more violently bent upon prosecuting their schemes’ which included ‘extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers.'”

Or today:  “From Oct. 18 to Dec. 3, 1961, 116,000 people visited New York’s Museum of Modern Art before anyone noticed that Henri Matisse’s “Le Bateau” had been hung upside down.”  And “Paul Hindemith, while rehearsing one of his dissonent orchestral compositions, said to the musicians, ‘No, no, gentlement – even though it sounds wrong, it’s still not right'”.

I’d love to see what Will has in his files waiting for the right column.

I read George Will in the Washington Post.  There is a lot of interest in this paper, as you might imagine.  Why, just the other day, there was an article on road conditions in metropolitan areas around the country (infrastructure, not traffic), and the Post announced that Washington was 25th amongst the studied regions, which put it behind such cities as Los Angeles, which was the worst in the country.

And just today I read with interest a bizarre article on Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, and whether her friendship with Clarence Thomas might affect her nomination prospects.  This article was on the top of the front page of the newspaper (it can’t be the most important story of the day, can it?), and continued on page A6, where it took up almost half the page.  But then look at A7, another lengthy article titled “In Court Pick, Obama Seeks to be Bold but Not Provocative”.  This article says that the president will almost certainly pick a woman to replace Justice Souter, and the four under strongest consideration are Sonia Sotomayor (my choice, but I haven’t been asked), Diane Wood, Elena Kagan and Jennifer Granholm.  Where is Chief Justice Sears?  And if she is not one of the top possibilities, why is this article about her friendship with Clarence Thomas on the front page?

By the way, I understand that a large segment of the African-American community doesn’t like Justice Thomas very much.  But is this really true, that when Sears was to be sworn in as Georgia Chief Justice, “the Rev. Joseph Lowery, the longtime leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, quickly called Sears to congratulate her, but also let her know that he would not attend her swearing-in because Thomas would be there?”  Really?

Other tidbits from this morning:  New Detroit mayor Dave Bing, according to an article in the Post “once said in a National Basketball Association promotional video that he had a master’s degree in business administration”, which he didn’t.  But apparently he made this statement, he said, in order to persuade young basketballers to stay in school.  Which apparently, he didn’t, as the paper goes on to say, “Because of a paperwork error, Bing said, he was not aware that he had been listed as three credits short of graduating [from Syracuse University in the mid 1960s] until 1995….” The article then goes on to quote a prominent Detroit citizen as describing Bing as “a man of great integrity”.

And is Kathleen Parker right when she says that a Gallup poll last year found that 44% of Americans “believe God created human beings in their present form within the past 10,000 years”?  And how could Dan Balz describe Jack Kemp, as a “conservative young Turk”?

To whom it may concern:  when the Post is ready to hire their next ombudsman, I’d love the job.


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