A note to my readers: you may find a link to Mr. Kelly's blog just to the left of this entry.
Dear Mr. Kelly,
I briefly considered leaving a mere comment to your last entry, but quickly realized that I would be doing the American public an injustice by leaving my response in a form and forum where it would be unlikely to be reviewed and enjoyed. Clearly, this is a reply that must be shared and quoted among the more fashionable intellectual circles.
First of all, I enjoyed your entry. I found it an amusing distraction to the current burden I suffer, that being the burden of conscience in light of today's disturbing current events. Why am I merely working at a production company when I should instead be serving society by holding down a public office and singlehandedly saving the entire world from itself by my singular intellect and insight into the human condition? Well, these are questions for another time, but again - thank you for your irreverent, charming piece.
Now as to your speculation of what I last read, no, it was not one of Wodehouse's world-reknown Jeeves and Wooster books. This would have been a good guess, however. I do very often enjoy turning to Mr. Wodehouse's works. I would not expect just anyone to appreciate Mr. Wodehouse's sparkling wit. As Mr. Charles McGrath, an editor of The New Yorker, put it in his article on Wodehouse in The New York Times, "I suspect that a taste for it is something that one usually acquires when young, or not at all." I, of course, did not get into Wodehouse until just after college, when my ex-boyfriend, one Mr. David Morris, a graduate of Berkeley with a degree in cognitive science, lent a Wodehouse book to me. Thankfully, my own sensibilities were able to tune themselves into Mr. Wodehouse's and I've been a fan ever since.
As to your statement that you find my reading of him "adorable," I can see how one would perceive the writings of a valet and his employer as merely amusing. However, as Mr. McGrath states, "[T]here is more to him than the funny names and Edwardian settings and delirious plots. Wodehouse was a prose stylist of real genius, with a technical mastery of the sentence that is the equal of Saki's or Beerbohm's." Clearly, a man of such talents might pass under radar of one who is not able to recognize the subtle mastery of the English language. Your assessment that Mr. Wodehouse's books are "silly" are entirely understandable, Mr. Kelly.
However, on to the question of what I was, in fact, reading last. It was the presidential biography Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Mrs. Doris Kearns Goodwin, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her book No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. It is a work on how Lincoln's mastery of men and politics shaped the most significant presidency in American history. I found the account deeply moving and politically stirring. In fact, I wept when Mr. Lincoln finally passed from life and into the great unknown. I tried not to dwell on my sadness at the early loss of such a great intelligence. Instead, I have endeavored to think more as his Secretary of War, Mr. Edwin Stanton thought, for, as he said, "Now he belongs to the ages."
While a book on Mr. Lincoln may not be quite the monolith that Ms. Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is, I think the subject matter does somewhat lend itself to being of a greater significance. I think it positively delightful that Ms. Rand sought to define a new philosophy in this age of capitalism. I think it's very quaint that she has an institute dedicated to furthering her ideas. Indeed, I hear that since the inception of an essay contest for high school students, there have been 150,000 participants. I don't think it quite reaches Mr. Lincoln's acts on behalf of the human race, but really, how many people can say they freed an entire race from bondage? Not many. So really, 150,000 high school kids receiving some money for college could be considered sort of like the modern version of granting 4 million people their freedom. I mean, I, personally, don't see how it could be considered as such, but perhaps someone else could.
As to what I am reading now, I have chosen Arundhati Roy's critically acclaimed novel The God of Small Things, which Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times stated is, "[A] novel that turns out to be as subtle as it is powerful, a novel that is Faulknerian in its ambitious tackling of family and race and class, Dickensian in its sharp-eyed observation of society and character." I have read it before, of course, on my flight back to the States after having spent the last month in Barcelona. I am re-reading it, however, in preparation for Ms. Roy's documentary "We," which is a documentary that covers the world politics of power, war, corporations, deception and exploitation. I'll be receiving it in the mail as a thanks from KPFK 90.7 for pledging my support. I will also be receiving a DVD of her talks with the internationally loved author Eduardo Galeano, entitled Conversations With Galeano and Roy It is a collection of readings and conversation held at Times Square in New York City. Roy and Galeano read from their writing, including unpublished work, and then exchanged thoughts on imperialism, neoliberalism, art, and resistance. I expect to find it fascinating, but I really couldn't say whether you would like it or not. Perhaps you're too busy to observe and reflect upon an open discourse between two minds because you have, I don't know, a Libertarian meeting to attend.
To conclude, I do hope I have thoroughly answered your pondering of what I last read. I hope you enjoy the remainder of Ms. Rand's brochure on Objectivism.
Miss Lindsay Katai