Monday, May 31, 2004

From a profile of Laura Bush in the The New Republic:
She is someone who, one would think, would otherwise not find George W.
compelling. (Can you picture W. spending time in a library anywhere, let
alone in a country where most of the books aren't in English?) Ergo, if
Laura finds George W. fulfilling, he must have something more to offer than
the bumbling, parochial presentation we see day to day. Her years immersed
in the Western canon subtly counteract the image of her husband as shallow
and glib. As Dan Quayle showed, it is critical that a male politician
suspected of being dim-witted not have a dim-witted wife. And yet, for all
the seriousness that Laura's reading brings to her husband's persona, she
never expresses a controversial or sophisticated idea about the great books
she has thought so much about. She is a deep thinker utterly free of the
dark angst or subversive notions that might come from such contemplation.
Take her favorite moment in literature, the `Grand Inquisitor' chapter of
Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. Asked about this ambiguous and
unsettling passage-in which Christ returns to earth only to be arrested as a
heretic and threatened with burning at the stake-Laura replied bafflingly,
`It's about life, and it's about death, and it's about Christ. I find it
really reassuring.'

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