Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pace Steyn, Obama's "Dreams" Is Actually a Riveting Read. Dammit.

In his latest OC Register column--which, if you're anything like me, will fill your day with laughter and sunshine--Mark Steyn calls Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father "the world's all-time most-unread bestseller."

Funny thing is, I've read it. Only two weeks ago, in fact. My local library had a large print copy in da house (but no other version), and I thought it might be interesting to read the "I ate a dog" excerpt in context, and see if there were other things in it that might shed light on this strangest of men.

Did it? Illuminate the darkness, that is? Not really. There was stuff in there about Rev. Wright and his nutty, anti-Capitalism church, which reviled what it called "middleclassness" because it supposedly robs black folks of their authenticity. Also, pages and pages about Barry's visit to Kenya, where he sought out Obama kinfolk who knew his dad--who remains an utter cypher despite all the titular "dreams"--when he was a young whippersnapper.

I must admit I didn't read the book word for word. Oh, not because it was boring or poorly written. Indeed, it was so well-written that I thought there's no way Obama wrote it, at least not without tons of help from a professional wordsmith and very hands-on editor. No, the reason I couldn't read every last sentence (although I did read most of it) was because it was too, in a word, Obama-y. Too pretentious. Too pseudo 'hood. Too full of the preening egotism that drives me crazy.

So for once, I must respectfully disagree with Steyn. I bet there are plenty of people out there who read the book and who, unlike me, were moved and inspired by it. If there weren't, I doubt Obama would be where he is today.

For my money, there's only one book that qualifies as "the world's all-time most-unread bestseller": Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time.

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