This Week’s Must-Reads

For this week’s hot reading–and no, I don’t know exactly why my type got so big all of a sudden–I have two pieces in addition to the excellent if possibly damaging Obama speech from last week.

The first is by David Mamet, the playwright (Glengarry Glen Ross, Speed the Plow, November) and screenwriter (The Untouchables, Wag the Dog). It’s the story of how he abandoned the conventional liberal faith that had sustained him most of his life,  and it reminds me of Orwell’s oft-quoted line that one of the hardest things in life is to actually see what’s right in front of one’s nose. A sample:

I’d observed that lust, greed, envy, sloth, and their pals are giving the world a good run for its money, but that nonetheless, people in general seem to get from day to day; and that we in the United States get from day to day under rather wonderful and privileged circumstances—that we are not and never have been the villains that some of the world and some of our citizens make us out to be, but that we are a confection of normal (greedy, lustful, duplicitous, corrupt, inspired—in short, human) individuals living under a spectacularly effective compact called the Constitution, and lucky to get it.

Check it here.

The other is from Shelby Steele, a writer I’ve discussed in the past and one of our most insightful commentators on race.  He’s got a new book out called A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can’t Win

This article contains his reaction to the Rev. Wright debacle, the big Obama race speech, and more. A sample:

Because [Obama] is black, there is a sense that profound questions stand to be resolved in the unfolding of his political destiny. And, as the Clintons have discovered, it is hard in the real world to run against a candidate of destiny. For many Americans — black and white — Barack Obama is simply too good (and too rare) an opportunity to pass up. For whites, here is the opportunity to document their deliverance from the shames of their forbearers. And for blacks, here is the chance to document the end of inferiority. So the Clintons have found themselves running more against America’s very highest possibilities than against a man. And the press, normally happy to dispel every political pretension, has all but quivered before Mr. Obama. They, too, have feared being on the wrong side of destiny.

That certainly describes some of my feelings toward Obama, which produced my vote for him in the Texas primary. More provocative stuff here.


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