Life in Progress: A weblog by Heidi Price

A new author

Discovering an author is a wonderful thing.

Last week, I pulled David Rakoff's "Don't Get Too Comfortable" from my library bookshelf.

Actually I pulled down the audio version of the book and I thank my recently-renewed library card that I did. Rakoff can string together a sentence like few I've met and his distinctive voice lends personality to his sentences.

Even better are Rakoff's own insights into the topics he tackles. In the first chapter of the book, Rakoff, a native of Canada, writes about his recent decision to seek citizenship in the United States. In filling out the naturalization application, Rakoff ponders whether he would ever bear arms on behalf of the United States. It sparks this rant...

While we're on the subject of the horrors of war, and humanity's most poisonous and least charitable attributes, let us not forget to mention Barbara Bush (that would be former First Lady and presidential mother as opposed to W's liquor-swilling, Girl Gone Wild, human ashtray of a daughter. I'm sorry, that's not fair. I've no idea if she smokes). When the administration censored images of the flag-draped coffins of the young men and women being killed in Iraq--purportedly to respect "the privacy of the families" and not to minimize and cover up the true nature and consequences of the war--the family matriarch expressed her support for what was ultimately her son's decision by saying on Good Morning America on March 18, 2003, "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

Mrs. Bush is not getting any younger. When she eventually ceases to walk among us we will undoubtedly see photographs of her flag-draped coffin. Whatever obituaries that run will admiringly mention those wizened, dynastic loins of hers and praise her staunch refusal to color her hair or glamorize her image. But will they remember this particular statement of hers, this "Let them eat cake" for the twenty-first century? Unlikely, since it received far too little play and definitely insufficient outrage when she said it. So let us promise herewith to never forget her callous disregard for other parents' children while her own son was sending them to make the ultimate sacrifice, while asking of the rest of us little more than to promise to go shopping. Commit the quote to memory and say it whenever her name comes up. Remind others how she lacked even the bare minimum of human integrity, the most basic requirement of decency that says if you support a war, you should be willing, if not to join those nineteen-year-olds yourself, then at least, at the very least, to acknowledge that said war was actually going on.


Paul said...

You're correct to call that a rant. (Is the whole book like that?)

11:21 AM  
Anonymous said...

Wow..I didn't get through the first paragraph before my had started throbbing...he should stay in Canada.

1:48 PM  
Anatidaeling said...

I LOVE David Rakoff! Check out his essay "King of the Forest" about Felix Salten, author of the beloved children's classic Bambi.

I happened to read it the other day, and I liked the essay so much I ordered Don't Get Too Comfortable.

We're in sync, Heidi!

3:09 PM  

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