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TEMA: A tale of two books

A tale of two books 27 Oct 2018 12:38 #10796

ANY country can become a "shit-hole country" (I'm borrowing from our tremendous president's eloquent, almost Churchillian, verb) once you pick a shit-head to run it.

Do yourselves a favor and pick up a copy of Sinclair Lewis' "It cannot happen here" if you haven't done it yet...
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A tale of two books 27 Sep 2018 11:35 #10764

Maybe I did over-reach in my comparison between Chauncey Gardner and Donald Trump, my good friend Gerardo. As you point out, when Chauncey spoke about his experiences in the garden he kept, people took him for a sage wisely using metaphors -which speaks volumes about such people's mediocrity and ignorance.

That is not the case with our tremendous president, as we discussed right here when I posted this entry over a year ago. The consensus regarding Trump seems to be that he is an idiot, a consensus, that even his closest advisers seem to have reached... Unless you chose to believe that there is no such consensus, that it is all the result of fake news, and that the laughter at the UN General Assembly was a sign of admiration for our tremendous president, as his ambassador to the UN does.
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A tale of two books 26 Sep 2018 19:28 #10762

Why Chauncey? In both my English and Spanish versions of the novel, the main character is named Chance. And "Chauncey" is the product of speculation and fake news.

Chance is confused by what he sees and reads in the media, facing so many contradictory views and opinions. That is why the book is considered a dark comedy or a satire of American media and social power. Chance answers questions literally and simply: A Russian diplomat assumes Chance knows Russian because he laughs at a joke. Chance says he can't read, and a man jests about the busy nature of the American working man leaving no time for reading.

The confusion evolves to the point that Mrs. Benjamin Rand (who has taken a personal interest in Chance) and Chance are visited by the President of the United States. As Mrs. Rand and the President talk economics, the President asks Chance for his opinion. Chance compares growth to a season in a garden, which the President finds intriguing. When the President gives a speech at the Financial Institute, he uses Chance’s analogy, crediting “Chauncey” (as Mrs. Rand had mistakenly introduced him to the President) in the question period.

Therefore, not understanding Chance’s limitations, people interpret his statements as metaphors. They take his responses and apply them to the context of the conversation. In general, they build fake news from their speculative interpretations.
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A tale of two books 25 Sep 2018 19:47 #10758

I read "Being There" close to half a century ago, Gerardo, but I don't recall any references to "fake news" in it..., nor do I understand what you mean by Chauncey's personal evolution once he broke out of his isolation... Is that in Kozinsky's novel too?

Next you'll tell me the main character gave a speech at the UN General Assembly and brought it down in laughter...LOL

Not even Jules Verne could have written about present day "America", not to mention Kozinsky... But Kozinsky came close -as did Sinclair Lewis-, which is why this is "A Tale of Three Books" now, Dickens notwithstanding...
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A tale of two books 24 Sep 2018 17:24 #10753

Among the other works published by Kosinski, we may mention the outstanding one titled "The Painted Bird" where he also traces the horrors facing a small boy who was separated from his parents at the beginning of World War II, tracking his wartime wandering from village to village, horror to horror. This book is some sort of autobiographical novel about himself as a boy fighting for survival in the troubled and oppressed Poland during World War II.

For readers who feel more at ease reading in Spanish, the title on the Spanish edition of the other book mentioned by José Manuel is "Desde el Jardín" ("Being There"). Some readers may interpret it as a satire about US politics. The book, originally published in 1971 lampooned how a mentally confused man became a political celebrity.

However, for those who have not read "Being There" ("Desde el Jardín") it is important to know that Chance is the name of a man (the book's leading character) who has lived all his existence locked up in a mansion, in charge of its garden. The space where he lives has no communication with the outside and a high wall of red bricks blocks contact with the world and restrict as well any look towards the house. In other words, the man lives an isolated existence until he is discovered and catapulted to fame (that's the meaning of his name being "Chance"), giving way to the satirical message contained in the book.

It is also noteworthy that in the book Chance only has a notion of what is happening in the world through some printed media and television programs and news, which results in a very distorted view of the world in which we live. In other words, his knowledge of the world is molded by quite a lot of fake news and distorted opinions, among some pieces of honest journalism.

However, when Chance leaves the garden, his personal evolution in the confusing outside world is surprising and makes this novel a real vehicle of interesting entertainment.
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A tale of two books 23 Sep 2018 14:22 #10750

Maybe it is time to turn this entry into a tale of three books: has anybody read a novel from the early seventies (I think), "Being There", written by Jerzy Kozinsky?

Every time I see or listen to our tremendous president, he brings to mind that novel and its main character, Chauncey Gardner, a role played by Peter Sellers in the movie version with the same title.

So it is now officially "A Tale of Three Books"...
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A tale of two books 12 Feb 2018 18:40 #10364

I believe there is little subjectivity on my part when I say I understand our tremendous president does not like to read anything longer than a two page memo (he even decided to release the infamous four page "Nunes Memo" before he had read it, and if he later read it, it is quite clear he did not quite understand its contents, which may be the reason he does nor read much in the first place: he simply cannot read...)

Now this piece of (fake?) news, which has been widely reported, seems to corroborate Mr. Trump is not "reading friendly"... :

Should we be concerned about this? I am! Not on account of myself, but of my children and grandchildren.
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A tale of two books 31 Ago 2017 22:47 #10138

I am worried -and I have to believe this is not just my "subjectivity" overreacting, but that many others worry about this too- by the possibility that having a president so prone to be a poor example for our kids could have disastrous effects on their behavior down the road. After all, a POTUS is someone others look up to, kids and not so kids.

We had this same discussion in a Spanish posting, Gerardo, where you referred to TWO subjective phrases in my piece, ONE that I don't believe Trump has read either of the two books mentioned in it (and now you seem to agree with me), and TWO that I UNDERSTAND (a word you chose to omit in the Spanish version of this mini-debate, reminding me of our POTUS omitting his own "from many sides, from many sides" when re-estating his post Charlottesville BS graduate speech) that it is very hard to make the Donald read anything that is more than two pages long. It seems you understand that the last one of my two phrases demerits my "excellent analysis", and, since I highly respect your opinion, I thank you for your concern. Buy I don't see myself as an excellent analyst by any means, and I do not fear what others may think of my analyses.

The basis of my opinion with regard to Trump's reluctance to read other than very concise analyses on policy et al, whatever the topic, is that such peculiarity of his has been reported over and over again. People he is going to meet, even foreign leaders, are made aware by Trump's handlers that they should stick to a few selected topics that fit the president's limited attention span. Again, this has been reported many times during the past few months.

The fact that Trump may not be alone in not having read them, and that only I may have read the two books mentioned in my piece is absolutely irrelevant, since I never even meant to suggest that Trump should read them -I said I thought his advisors should (have you, my good friend?).

The fact these traits of our Commander in Chief have been abundantly reported may not change your opinion that my "subjective phrases" are unsubstantiated; so be it... Again, I value and respect your opinions, my dear friend Gerardo, subjective or not, but still, I do not intend to loose any sleep over them.
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