Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The mutually dependent co-origination of Shrub

A friend sent the following by email. I should note, my friend is not reading Bloom looking for a fight.
Last night as I was reading about Hart Crane in Harold Bloom's Genius book, he tossed out a barb at W. That struck me as odd, particularly since it came with the comment that he doubted W. had ever read Crane (and by implication would have been a better person if he had). This led me to Wikipedia this morning....on the entry for Harold Bloom: "He received his Ph.D. in 1955 and has worked as a member of the Yale faculty since that time" And from the entry on W: "Following in his father's footsteps, Bush attended Yale University, where he received a Bachelor's degree in history in 1968." So, tell me, whose fault is it that young W. was never exposed to the miracle that is (and I do not dispute this) Hart Crane?
It's a funny example of the very basic fact that we all help to shape society. When we criticize others, especially those in elected office, we often make a point of willfully forgetting that, placing ourselves as outsiders. In today's polarized political environment that seems to me to be especially common, in part because certain politicians have worked hard to ensure that political opponents really are outsiders. I think there's a lesson there in how we criticize others. I doubt it's a lesson I've fully digested, but I try. Which happens to be why I support Obama as an advocate of the communal good, and cringe at his leftier critics who think he should abandon such rhetoric. It's not that I hate Bush's policies or leadership any less than anyone else, but if I want a better society, I think I have to criticize him in a manner keeping with the society I want.

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