What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 9, 2007


I've just finished reading Elizabeth Holtzman's book, "The Impeachment of George W. Bush." I picked it up after delicately letting Al Gore's book, "The Assault on Reason" gently slip from my fingers. I picked up Gore's book after devouring Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great."

The first book I loved, the second, eh not so much. The third was in a class by itself.

I'll start with the last two and then end with Holtzman.

It can be an amazing experience to actually hear an author's voice in your head as you read. Whenever I read Vonnegut, for example, I can hear his scratchy Pall-Mall enhanced vocal cords quiver and speak.

This experience, however, can be a double edged sword (is that the right metaphor? I dunno). It does wonders for Hitchens. For Gore, eh not so much.

It's not that I disagreed with anything I read in Gore's book - far from it. It's an important work that everyone should read, no question. But while it may or may not be written by Gore alone, it certainly sounds like it's a work written by a committee all trying to sound like Al Gore.

It's an odd torture, of sorts. You know each page contains important ideas. But sitting through (and sifting through) the text...oh god. Not fun.

It's exactly the opposite for Hitchens. My main problem with that book is that he's written it almost as if it's the only book on the subject. There's no mention, for instance, of Bertrand Russell's great essay/book "Why I am NOT a Christian."

It seems incomprehensible to me that Hitchens, the product of Oxford University where he studied philosophy, could not have stumbled upon Russell's book at least a few times. His deconstruction of the "moral argument" for the existence of God (and in the book he spells it "god" by the way) is straight out of Russell. That was disappointing.

Hotlzman's book, while not written with the same polish as Hitchens', is still a gem. It outlines, in a style pointing towards the ever-boring, though highly precise, English that attorneys use in writing Motions, Briefs, Interrogatories and so on, all the reasons why George W Bush must be impeached. From the deceptions leading the nation to war, to the illegal domestic surveillance, to permitting torture, to leaking classified information, to the reckless indifference to human suffering after Hurricane Katrina, it's all spelled out. Clearly and succintly.

A good book.


Anonymous said...

Impeach the guy already. Last month Rep Conyers had C. Sheehan arrested in his offices for disrupting the peace for screaming at him to do the same. Rep. Conyers claimed "he did not have the votes". And you don't. And with congress endorsing and expanding the FISA stuff there are no charges to impeach anyone. So stop with the impeachment stuff already. Do it or shut up! Its boring.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

...and you know boring, doncha, Anon?

The Bag of Health and Politics said...

You should read: Talking Right: How Conservatives Turned Liberalism Into a Tax-Raising, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Time-reading, body-piecing, hollywood-loving, left-wing, FREAK SHOW

For once, it's a coherent argument from a linguist, and it's well written, and funny too.

Anonymous said...

Duh, of course I know boring. I listen to Democrat debates where all they can do is pander to the left with the impeachment threat. Do it already or shut up.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

Of course we'll shut up, Anon, since you asked so nicely.