August 19, 2011

Obama goes to the bookstore...

... and — using the credit card he only uses about 3 times a year — buys:

1. "The Bayou Trilogy."
Det. Rene Shade, an ex-boxer turned cop...  with a 10-year-old daughter and a killer on his trail. There's poetry in Woodrell's mayhem, each novel—and scene—full of gritty and memorable Cajun details. 
I don't know enough about this to speculate about whether Obama identifies with Shade, but I will note that Sasha is 10. 

2. "Brave New World" ... which is a book I carry around in my iPad and dip into frequently for inspiration. I know Obama is thinking about jobs as he vacations, and perhaps there's something in "Brave New World" about jobs. For example, there's the idea of depriving relieving people of the competition for better jobs and keeping 8/9 of the population in childishly simply low-level jobs where they will be happy:
No strain on the mind or the muscles. Seven and a half hours of mild, unexhausting labour, and then the soma ration and games and unrestricted copulation and the feelies. What more can they ask for? True... they might ask for shorter hours. And of course we could give them shorter hours. Technically, it would be perfectly simple to reduce all lower-caste working hours to three or four a day. But would they be any the happier for that? No, they wouldn’t. The experiment was tried, more than a century and a half ago. The whole of Ireland was put on to the four-hour day. What was the result? Unrest and a large increase in the consumption of soma; that was all. Those three and a half hours of extra leisure were so far from being a source of happiness, that people felt constrained to take a holiday from them. The Inventions Office is stuffed with plans for labour-saving processes: Thousands of them... And why don’t we put them into execution? For the sake of the labourers; it would be sheer cruelty to afflict them with excessive leisure.
So... 1 + 2... the boxer and thinking outside the box.

ADDED: Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little soma...


Scott M said...

I don't know enough about this to speculate about whether Obama identifies with Shade

If you do think so, Ed Schultz thinks you're a racist.

Shouting Thomas said...

Who in the fuck goes out to a bookstore?

Hasn't he heard of Kindle?

He doesn't have an iPad?

You download books to your computer or your tablet. Somebody tell this fool.

So, he's a technological dinosaur as well as a financial disaster?

Scott M said...

I wonder if he first went to a Borders, saw the BIG FUCKING "GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SIGN", decided it was bad press, and opted for another vendor.

Palladian said...


"Brave New World"?!

Remember when people used to say how image-savvy this man's administration was?

Deborah M. said...

He's probably reading Brave new World for inspiration, too.

Carol_Herman said...

Yup. Huxley. Still in print.

Even though we ducked the bullet in 1984.

Glad Obama reads. Glad he picked up a detective novel. Sounds interesting.

Meanwhile, I'd recommend that he not get photographed wearing a yellow sweater. Not even on the golf course!

Where's the downside?

Obama is also probably thinking that Jeb is gonna be in the republican's veep slot. So, he's not gonna see Perry on the top of the ticket.

Trump, meanwhile, won't be there. He's shopping around a new story with a Trump Tower apartment part of the show. (Will they film it in Canada?/s.)

Carol_Herman said...

Ha! The bookstore on Martha's Vineyard didn't have to close! And, they've got to get their books shipped in.

Wouldn't give you two-cents for a kindle.

edutcher said...

Outside the box?

He doesn't know what the box looks like, let alone being able to find it.

Shouting Thomas said...

So much for Obama's economic sense.

You can download Brave New World for free on Kindle.

Carol_Herman said...

WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE by Philip Wylie. I remember that one, too.

James said...

I know Obama is thinking about jobs as he vacations


chickelit said...

We can't allow science to undo its own good work.
- Brave New World, Ch. 17

You just know he's going to Chu and swallow that one.

Rit said...

He's trying to find the recipe for Soma. It's the only way to keep the populace happy.

Anonymous said...

You just know that the pages about how they ship all their malcontents to Iceland are going to end up all stuck together.

Derve Swanson said...

You missed the best part:
He complained that the price was too low when they only asked him for $32.

He indeed IS clueless at the cash register, just in a different direction than George Bush the First.

Derve Swanson said...

Lol @ Rit !

Shouting Thomas said...

Obama paid 15 bucks for a book you can download for free!

That's a succinct metaphor for his economic plan for America.

Ipso Fatso said...

I guess they were out of Das Kapital.

Peter said...

The core of Brave New World is the genetic programming that makes it possible to produce people who are destined to be alphas, betas, gammas, etc.

Plus the operant conditioning that makes it possible for each to be pleased with what he or she has.

I suppose a secondary theme would be the abolition of family and of exclusivity in sexual relationships.

Which doesn't really tell us what Pres. Obama thinks about any of this. Although somehow it's easier to see him imagining himself as the World Controller(doing whatever it takes to keep everyone happy) than as the misfit 'Savage.'

It's also hard to believe the President does anything wihtout thinking of the political consequences. After all, if he wants some books then surely all he has to do is ask someone to buy them for him. So, WTF?

Gene said...

When there is too much cheap labor around technological progress grinds to a stop. Two thousand years ago, the Greeks were at the same level of technological sophistication as the British were before the Industrial Revolution.

But the British needed labor saving devices while the Greek problem was finding work for all the existing slaves.

bagoh20 said...

The worst job I ever had was also the easiest. I mixed adhesives for an aerospace company by hand. Basically follow a recipe of 2 or 3 ingredients, mix them in a tube, and fill a few syringes, repeat, repeat, repeat,...

I must have looked at the clock 1000 times a day. My only union job ever. It almost extinguished my soul.

I eventually quit and became a pimp. Much more fun, but surprisingly not a union job.

Scott M said...

Much more fun, but surprisingly not a union job.

And many more opportunities to use the phrase, "upside your head".

d-day said...

Gene: Sources?

(I would like to read about that topic in more depth).

bagoh20 said...

What the chances that he secretly bought "Economics in One Lesson" ~ Hazlitt?

Alex said...

Obama is too lazy and incompetent to engineer a "Brave New World" scenario. He just wants to play golf, shoot some hoops and hang out at Martha's Vineyard.

Kevin said...

Of course Obama bought Brave New World.

As an Alpha Double Plus, ruling over the Gammas and Deltas clinging to their guns and religion (not to mention the Epsilon-Minus Semi-Morons in the Tea Party), he needs good tips on how to rule over his inferiors.

Best description of a Tea Party supporter ever written:

The liftman was a small simian creature, dressed in the black tunic of an Epsilon-Minus Semi-Moron.
He flung open the gates. The warm glory of afternoon sunlight made him start and blink his eyes. "Oh, roof!" he repeated in a voice of rapture. He was as though suddenly and joyfully awakened from a dark annihilating stupor. "Roof!"
He smiled up with a kind of doggily expectant adoration into the faces of his passengers. Talking and laughing together, they stepped out into the light. The liftman looked after them.
"Roof?" he said once more, questioningly.
Then a bell rang, and from the ceiling of the lift a loud speaker began, very softly and yet very imperiously, to issue its commands.
"Go down," it said, "go down. Floor Eighteen. Go down, go down. Floor Eighteen. Go down, go …"
The liftman slammed the gates, touched a button and instantly dropped back into the droning twilight of the well, the twilight of his own habitual stupor.

george said...

I think Althouse is right. Obama doesn't see Huxley's work as a warning but rather as a blueprint. Maybe if someone would give him the Cliff notes he could noodle out the intent of the author.

I would like to believe he is replacing a lost copy because it is scary to believe we have a president who has read "Brave New World." It just feeds into the image that he has a huge gap in his education when it comes to an appreciation of liberty or the inevitable consequences of concentrating power in the hands of a few.

john said...

Kevin said...
Of course Obama bought Brave New World. As an Alpha Double Plus..

That must make Peewee Herman a +++ Alpha! >

John henry said...

I didn't even realize that Brave New World was still in print.

I think I read it in about '64 when I was a sophomore.

I've not had any inclination to read it again since.

That same year, in Virginia, we also read Ayn Rand's "Anthem". I've re-read that book a number of times.

Now what would really have been news would be if he had bought "Atlas Shrugged"

John Henry

WV: Fogyl Does going to HS in the 60s make me an old fogyl?

David said...

How much time do you think they spent deciding on the books with a view to projecting an image for Obama. Plenty, I bet--

Think it was a successful image projection?

Peter V. Bella said...

He did that last year. It's nothing but a photo op. If he read he would know things. Unless he was buying the books as gifts for someone who, you know, actually reads.

Kevin said...

Also from the article:

"He's working all the time. He's getting a little relaxing when he's with his girls," said Virlynn Atkinson, also was on vacation from Washington, D.C. "But for the most part, I'm sure he's working. There's too much going on in the country. He's very conscientious."

Virlynn Atkinson is apparently the Finance Director of the Washington DMV. Guess the job pays pretty well...

Joe said...

To bad he didn't buy The Road to Serfdom by Hayek.

Carol_Herman said...

"Brave New World," clipped from a scene in Shakespeare's Tempest.

Written in 1931. Before "talkies." Before TV. And, set in London, 2045. Not New York.

Put into Shakespeare's zone. Probably staging the story to take place 500 years after Shakespeare was born.

Who, back in 1931, didn't want kids who'd be strong enough to survive. And, not get polio. Not be born with birth defects.

Add the science, and still people aren't happy.

Does a day go by where Obama isn't picked on? Of course, he and his family don't get picked on when they're on Martha's Vineyard! He also doesn't have to worry that the island is overrun by Kennedy's. WIN-WIN. Bicycle paths. The wonders of being surrounded by ocean. Cool breezes. Happy children.

And, NOT being in hot-hot DC!

Complain all you want. The guy's got no downside on this vacation. And, perhaps? Amazon saw its computers picking up links?

David said...

Brave New World!

He bought Brave New World.

What do you suppose he will make of it? Will anyone have the guts to ask him?

Did he have any idea what the book actually was?

What made him want to read it?

Can this man ever stop faking it?

Man, it must be confusing to be Michelle.

ricpic said...

In Wisconsin there's no shortage of dank and dreary, or as academics put it, authentic taverns to repair to for ones soma break

john said...

It's summer, why not War and Peace?

Neither Brave New World nor 1984 made Oprah's summer reading list for this year. Maybe he was looking for something more manly.

Anonymous said...

The whole of Ireland was put on to the four-hour day. What was the result? Unrest and a large increase in the consumption of soma

Well of course the Irish got drunk and fought more given the chance. This was an experiment designed to fail.

Brave New World is overrated. It is far too bound up in the prejudices of Huxley's time to contain any timeless truths about the human condition. (To give just one example--physical size is an indicator of status and intelligence, and women are smaller than men).

Almost Ali said...

Stop it.

Just stop it.

Anonymous said...

'Blogger Palladian said...


"Brave New World"?!

Remember when people used to say how image-savvy this man's administration was?'


Right now he's probably asking his staff if Soma is FDA approved.

dbp said...

I worry about what a man, whose mind seems to be all thumbs, will make of a book full of sharp, pointy ideas.

Kirby Olson said...

I wish he'd have chosen my novel, but I doubt if it's in any bookstore in America now that my brother dropped out of Management at Barnes & Noble and decided the money was in convenience stores. My brother said selling beer and cigarettes to the underclasses is a booming business. Throw in chicken wings and you've got yourself enough money to get a BMW and build an in-the-ground pool. Who can do that selling novels?

The president should buy more novels and books of poetry. I think he is probably a pretty good literary judge. His writing style isn't bad. His early poems aren't bad (well, one of them is good).

If he bought a book of poems by someone quite good -- let's say Baudelaire -- or even more recent -- let's say -- Henry J.M. Levet -- I'd be quite happy that he was once the president. It would make up for him having totalled the economy.

ricpic said...

Yeah, but tim, physical size in men is a predictor of status and to some extent intelligence and women are smaller on average than men.

showbiz111 said...

I'm thinking of putting Obama on permanent vacation, and the positive effects that would have on the economy. Call me crazy.

Kirk Parker said...


None Dare Call You Crazy.

FedkaTheConvict said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol_Herman said...

The economy got throttled by Dubya.

But people loved being fooled that their houses were worth so much money! And, income was easy! All you needed to do was sign up your friends to refinance their houses.

THEN, by 2008 it ALL popped!

Never going back there!

While all Obama has to do is let the headwinds take out Merkel. Europe suddenly discovers it hates the gnomes in Belgium. And, states begin demanding back their own currencies.

FUTURE OUTLOOK: PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR! Euroepean bankers and other fools will discover what it means to take pennies on the dollar.

Restructuring ahead.

Obama just has to decide what he wants to snip and cut. A trillion here. A trillion there. The GOP takes a bath ... because it's their voters who get shorn.

And, if we're lucky, we also avoid inflation. People buy less. Use less. Don't travel much, anymore.

And, those big vacations? Oh, yeah. People "borrowed" from their own cash registers, when they mistook their homes as having values it didn't have.

Oh, if Jeb is selected as veep in 2012, it solves the Florida problem for the GOP. And, it would mean Perry's not the front runner, either.

In a close race Obama wins.

FedkaTheConvict said...

What exactly is the basis for the assumption that Obama reads? His annual photo op posing in a bookstore?

I recall that just prior to the 2008 election a writer described the two candidates' Senate offices. Mc Cain's was portrayed as a voracious reader whose office overflowed with books. Obama's office was described as a gallery with hardly book in sight.

I wish I could remember where I read the article but I seem to recall it was published in the New York Times.

Ahhh... I found the article, it was actually from USA Today:

Obama, McCain: By their offices ye shall know them

..."McCain, an avid reader, has books stacked seven- or eight-high along the length of a window sill. They include "For Whom the Bell Tolls," his favorite."

..."Obama's Midwestern connection shows in a massive painting of an Illinois field called "Illinois Colorscape," a watercolor on paper by Harold Gregor, a noted painter of the American heartland. The only books sitting around are two tomes neatly stacked on an end table: "I Have Risen," a collection of essays by African-American young people, and the catalog of the U.S. Senate's fine art collection."

Synova said...

"Glad Obama reads."

Nothing says he has to read it if he buys it.

No one believed that Bush read the books that he took with him anywhere or said that he was reading.

Synova said...

Let me am amend that...

None of Bush's detractors believed that he read the books on his book lists.

Synova said...

See my pretty photo op?

I don't actually read many comic books. ;-)

Paul said...

He should have bought, "Jimmy Carter, My Life After the White House" and subtitled, "Memoirs of a Looser".


Cause soon he will need the advice it gives.

Phil 314 said...


(Did he read a magazine or paper and not buy it? Inquiring minds want to know.)

William said...

Brave New World itself explains the mystery of why he didn't just download it for nothing on Kindle. He wanted to provide a job for that Delta in the bookstore. If he should ever again have to take money out of the bank (his not ours), he will bypass the ATM and present a withdrawal slip to the teller. It's all part of his jobs program.....Years ago I read Brave New World, but retain very little. From the brief excerpt above, I get the impression that it was more an exposition of the author's hideous snobbery than of his powers of prophecy. These evil twits spent their childhood memorizing irregular Latin verbs and accuse the working class of being bred for drudgery......What used to annoy the twits the most about Yanks was that not only were we crass and vulgar, but we were taller and healthier. In the 19th and for a good chunk of the 20th century, middle class Britons were taller than the working class. They liked to think the height advantage was an outward sign of their superiority. They felt it was kind of impudent for low class Americans to be so much taller than them.

Phil 314 said...

Oh, if Jeb is selected as veep in 2012, it solves the Florida problem for the GOP. And, it would mean Perry's not the front runner, either.

Carol, you're perseverating.


Jack said...

I would suggest "Atlas Shrugged" but Obama would read it as a road-map, not a dis-utopia.


The Dude said...

War and Peace is and interesting book, but way too long for the jug earred Jesus to read. Plus there are wars and stuff, and cold weather, and that evil Napolean - that would never do.

Better to carry around something a 60s hipster would like.

garage mahal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
garage mahal said...

From our resident spell checker:

"is and interesting book".

Heart_Collector said...

He probably needs new surfaces to blow lines off of. Whoopi Goldberg and Neilpatrick Harris's tittys just arnt good enough anymore.

Heart_Collector said...

garage mahal said...
From our resident spell checker:

"is and interesting book".


Chip S. said...

Obama walks into a bookstore.

He asks the guy at the info desk, "Do you have any copies of The Audacity of Hope?"

Guy says, "No sir, we don't."

Obama says, "Wanna buy some?"

Lawyer Mom said...

Brave New World brings my eureka. Finally, I get why Chico's named its loungerie line "Soma." Perhaps it will never bring to mind a cancerous tumor again.

Cato Renasci said...

I wonder if this time he's actually going read Brave New World?

I'd bet he only read the Cliff's Notes in high school or college.

He'll probably find it as helpful a manual as Alinsky's Rules for Radicals

Tank said...

Great bookstore. We went there too. Spent an hour browsing and reading stuff out loud to each other.

Plus, listening to locals talk. Always interesting.

Someone in our group bought something there. Not sure what.

Going to a bookstore on vacation is a great thing to do as a break from the sun, or on a rainy day.

Cody Jarrett said...

Some of us have iPads with the ibookstore and a library full of books AND the kindle app and other books there AND the kindle app for our laptops AND YET still love real actual tactile books.

So tell Shouting Thomas to stop fucking shouting before he goes hoarse or we grow deaf.

Technological dinosaur? What a stupid ass.

WV: chance
Shouting Thomas doesn't have a chance of ever making sense.

PatCA said...

He used a credit card? Maybe Anonymous could steal his identity and start repealing EOs and laws.

Robert Cook said...

"Who in the fuck goes out to a bookstore?"

People who love books and bookstores.

Unknown said...

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