The Corner

My Country, Write or Wrong

Thank you AP, I was wondering about novelists who support Obama:

“When I was watching Obama’s acceptance speech (Tuesday night), I was convinced that he had written it himself, and therefore that he was saying things that he actually believed and had considered,” says Jane Smiley, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Thousand Acres” and other fiction.

“I find that more convincing in a politician than the usual thing of speaking the words of a raft of hack speechwriters. If he were to lie to us, he would really be betraying his deepest self.”

You have to love that “If he were to lie to us, he would be betraying his deepest self.” I don’t necessarily mean this as a dig on Obama, but I think we can safely say that all politicians by their nature are rather artful liars. Of course he’s already lied to us and likely on more than a few occasions. His obvious skill as a writer here is likely an asset not a hindrance in that regard. But wait there’s more:

“Until now, my identity as a writer has never overlapped with my identity as an American — in the past eight years, my writing has often felt like an antidote or correction to my Americanism,” says “Everything Is Illuminated” novelist Jonathan Safran Foer.

“But finally having a writer-president — and I don’t mean a published author, but someone who knows the full value of the carefully chosen word — I suddenly feel, for the first time, not only like a writer who happens to be American, but an American writer.”

First, I’ll note that Jonathan Safran Foer’s brother is Franklin Foer, editor of The New Republic, so the whole family’s in the business of writing fiction! (Sorry Frank — cheap shot, but I couldn’t resist.) Second, I wish I was as successful a writer as Foer, so I could overcome my Americanism. Sometimes I think I too know the full value of the chosen word, but as someone who views himself as more of an American than a writer, most of the time I just dribble cerebral spinal fluid all over my keyboard with Lee Greenwood blaring in the background.

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