Saturday, July 7, 2007

It's heartbreaking after all

Recently I was rereading Dave Eggers's A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, his memoir about raising his brother in San Francisco in the early 1990s. I remember thinking it was a good read when I read it around 2001-2002. Now it seems quaint and nostalgic, a vivid portrait of a time that I lived through semi-sentiently and to which I can relate at least some of my formative experiences. I mean, he and his friends don't use either email or cellphones. It was practically the Dark Ages, and I remember it. At one point Dave talks about robots doing work for us; Now, in the future, Mr. Boo just had our Roomba vacuum our apartment!

In regard to other prescient observations, Dave describes Clinton in 1993-1994 thus:

He [Clinton] speaks like a president, not always authoritatively or anything but he can form sentences, complex sentences with beginnigs and ends, subordinate clauses - you can hear his semicolons! He knows the answers to questions. He knows acronyms and the names of foreign leaders, their deputies. It is heartening, it makes our country look smart, and this is an important thing, something we have too long been without. (paperback edition, p. 288. Italics in original.)
Dave has unwittingly hit upon a crucial trait in an American president: She should at least seem smart, even if she isn't. Better yet, she should actually be smart. Currently we have a president that makes us, as a nation, look stupid. Gentle voters: we must consider our public image! It is time to elect someone who makes us look smart, at the very least...maybe Barack Obama?

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