Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bush Discusses Existensialism.

George Buh has only taken a 10 day vacation in his Texas ranch in Crowford this year, and according to Tony Snow - the White House Secretary - the president spent part of his vacation reading French Albert Camus''s "The Stranger". According to Snow, it even triggered a discussion about existentialism with his aides
"He found it an interesting book and a quick read," said Mr Snow. "I don't want to go too deep into it, but we discussed the origins of existentialism." (MSNBC)
What to make of it? Like anything official that comes from the White House, we need some skepticism and consider this may just PR.
Camus is certainly no beach reading and the choice is all the more surprising that Bush has so far made a point in playing the anti-intellectual president- especially if you consider that Bush has spent much of his presidency dismissing the French, why would he now read one of the country's literary heroes and goes public about it (Slate)

So what other possible explanations
Some have suggested it is an act of glasnost:
Bush has spent much of his presidency dismissing the French, so now he reads one of the country's literary heroes and goes public about it.
Jon Stewart has another explanation - the story is after all basically about a westerner who kills an arab for no good reason and dies with no remorse. (sic!)
Slate also suggests that the president could easily relate to Meursault, the main protagonist. Yet, Bush is everything but a Camus man, in my opinion.
Others, such as Senior White House Correspondent Jason Jones suggested that George Bush was actually catching up on his 9th grade syllabus.
Well, maybe he is simply extending his intellectual horizon.

In any case, there seems to be a lot of fuss and skepticism about the whole thing.

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