Friday, May 4, 2012

Book Report

The latest shiny object to distract the wingnuts is David Maraniss’s new biography of President Obama and his history with his “New York girlfriend.” Apparently they’re just finding out about her and raising a lot of questions about who she is and why Mr. Obama is being so cagey about her: Why won’t he admit the truth about her identity?!?

Dave Weigel reports:

Obama lied! Except — wait, hang on, anyone who reads Dreams From My Father starts with this disclaimer.

For the sake of compression, some of the characters that appear are composites of people I’ve known, and some events appear out of precise chronology. With the exception of my family and a handful of public figures, the names of most characters have been changed for the sake of their privacy.

This has been known for years. Obama’s memoir has stymied reporters because characters who might have some insights appear in composite form. The most famous of them, up to now, was a guy named “Ray,” who gets all of Dreams’s “angry black dude” lines. Is it kosher for a future president to write like this and then be cagey about who was who? Interesting discussion! But in 2012, you can’t “admit” something you told book-buyers in 1995.

Reading is FUNdamental.