Tuesday, April 28, 2009

E. J. Dionne on Obama & Steven Johnson on the Future of the Book

E.J. Dionne is one of my favorite political commentators, and not just because he had the smarts to interview my daughter and her friend during the 2000 political campaign. He’s an insightful and sensible “liberal” (I generally don’t care for or trust such labels, but I bow here to popular prejudices). In his column today in the Washington Post, he argues that Obama has both “intellect” (vision, a sense of the whole) and “intelligence” (an ability to get things done). Dionne credits this distinction to Richard Hofstadter, the great American historian, from his Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1966). Worthwhile.

Steven Johnson wrote in the Wall Street Journal about the future of the book. For all bibliophiles, an interesting and challenging piece. Johnson is generally upbeat; I remain cautious. As much a blogs, and magazines and newspapers offer, nothing matches the extended argument and consideration of a book. Can it withstand all the potential for jumping and hoping? Johnson recognizes the problem, but he glosses over it. Otherwise, the Kindle 2 would certainly be a big temptation. Time will tell.

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