Book Review and Gratuitous Slap at President

Pages magazine is a buzz book for the publishing industry, with many of the ads directly related to the content of the editorial copy. I got the March/April 2003 magazine as a part of my ongoing “market” (pleasepublishme) research.

So I came to “Trouble Man,” Heather L. Hughes’ review for Robert Young Pelton’s The World’s Most Dangerous Places. The book sounds like a slightly more serious treatment of the subject covered in P.J. O’Rourke’s Holidays In Hell–going to dangerous places and writing about what it’s like traveling there. I might pick a book like that up–after all, I did read Holidays in Hell.

I liked the review and had a favorable impression of the book until I got to the Typical Sanctimonious Condescension Digression (TSCD) about George W. Bush:

“The reason I wrote it funny and as a travel guide was I wanted to make it cool to care about things. To present politicians with their clothes off, rebel leaders without their dogma, to find the human motivations behind these people,” explains Pelton. “So when you see George [W.] Bush on TV making a speech about the axis of evil, you can flip to my book and go, ‘George, you don’t get out much, do you?’ George really needs my book. If he did get it and go out there, I’m sure he’d have a very different view on the world.”

Remarkable–hence, I remark. Examine the snobbish inconsistency in knowing others’ hearts: George W. Bush cannot know the hearts of evil men remotely, but Pelton can fathom Bush’s heart and worldliness from a speech on television. The quote comes out of nowhere to bash Bush, a throw made from left field when the recipient didn’t have eye contact. Scoring cheap points among People Who Love Books (for whom Pages publishes).

The review’s not available online, but I would recommend it for a browse if you’re in the coffeeshop of the local megabookstore. Just remember to leave a coffee ring around Robert Pelton’s intensely serious visage.

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