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2.22.2006 

good reading

Greg Orr, The Making of Poems--Greg was a professor of mine at UVA, and this is a great little essay that he wrote for NPR on poetry.

Jeffery Goldberg, The Believer--Interesting article published in my lastest hard copy of the New Yorker on Michael Gerson, an evangelical speech writer for George Bush. Though I don't agree with all of Gerson's politics, his life seems to be a wonderful example of some of the ways a Christian engaged in culture might well act. Some quotes:
Gerson knows that he is an enigma to the liberal
establishment of Washington. He is a churchgoing, anti-gay-marriage, pro-life supply-sider who believes absolutely in the corporeality of Jesus’ resurrection. He is also supremely loyal to an ideological President in a city that tends to grant only posthumous approbation to ideologues, particularly conservative ones. Yet among his role models he counts Martin Luther King, Jr., and the radical evangelical abolitionists of the nineteenth century, and his chief vocational preoccupation is the battle against infectious disease in Africa.
And Gerson at a presidential speech writer's dinner:
At a Welliver dinner, the remarks of ex-speechwriters tend toward carefully calibrated irreverence; current speechwriters aren’t expected to gripe or to disclose confidences. But at the 2002 event, Gerson spoke with immoderate earnestness. According to several people who attended, Safire asked Gerson to tell the group something it didn’t know about Bush. Gerson, in a quavering voice, responded with a story that left some of his audience nonplussed. He described a call that he got moments after Bush finished addressing a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001. Bush thanked Gerson for his work on the speech, to which Gerson replied, “Mr. President, this is why God wants you here.” Gerson then related Bush’s response, as evidence of his thoughtfulness. “The President said, ‘No, this is why God wants us here.’”

An uncomfortable silence filled the room, and then one of Bill Clinton’s speechwriters said, in a stage whisper, “God must really hate Al Gore."
Gina Ochsner, Thicker Than Water--One of the best short stories I've read in the New Yorker in the last year. Really worth reading.

Gerson was a classmate of Brookie Moore's at either Westminster here in St. Louis or Wheaton College -- I can't remember which.

That's great. You know I'm not a big Bush fan, but he does seem like a talented writer.

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