October 26, 2004

*Fun Reading

One book I'd recommend to presidential history buffs is Barbara Holland's Hail to the Chiefs: Presidential mischief, morals, & malarkey from George W. to George W....it's a humorous book profiling each president in a chatty tone that I enjoy. If you're looking for hardcore history, it's not the book for you, but if you like a little spice, it's a fun read.

Dave Barry calls it "Wonderfully funny." It says so right on the cover, and I don't know what better endorsement you could hope to get. I personally laughed out loud while reading.

Here's an excerpt from the Jimmy Carter chapter:

It's hard to explain to foreigners and small children just why Jimmy Carter was such a joke. You had to be there. He wasn't a funny joke, like Gerry Ford, more an embarrassing joke....(Here is) a broad spectrum of reasons:

a. Peanut farming. This is not a manly occupation, like raising cattle. Never mind that you graduated with distinction from the Naval Academy; when your father dies and leaves a peanut farm for you to manage, you should just say no. Peanuts are silly.

d. Being governor of Georgia. Georgia is not a real place, like Massachusetts or Illinois. Georgia is funny, except for downtown Atlanta, and gives you an accent.

e. He talked funny. See above.

f. He was serious about Nature. Not in a manly way, like Teddy Roosevelt, to go do manly things in, but just to have it lying around.

g. The rabbit. Even he thought the rabbit was funny, and actually went around telling people how his rowboat had been pursued by a vicious seagoing rabbit, when any sensible pol would have murdered the witnesses and sunk their bodies in the river. Voters found the rabbit a worse joke even than the peanuts. Go out and vote, and what do you get? A President who gets publicly pushed around by rabbits.

k. His honesty....Presidents are supposed to be simple, straightforward, hometown folks, but a President who really is simple, straightforward, hometown folks is a national humiliation and a dork.

Holland mixes humor with history and shows us the funny side of each presidency...something I find soothingly therapeutic right now.

Posted by Jennifer at October 26, 2004 07:00 AM