Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The vulgarity sweepstakes ...

... Revenge by the book: It's the rage. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
This from Jonathan Yardley is right on the money "The kiss-and-tell is part of the dumbing down of the United States."
What the Washington scene needs in order to be really understood by the general public is the American equivalent of Evelyn Waugh to write about it - not Bob Woodward, with his leaden prose and cartoon psychology. And at center stage in the cavalcade of absurdity would be the Washington press corps.


  1. Anonymous11:52 AM

    Oh dear, I like Bob Woodward! I've read all his books but not yet the latest. Agree they can be a bit long, but same applies to many other authors.

    Perhaps he is the Horace Freeland Judson of the political field.

  2. Well, Maxine, my point is that he doesn't come near to capturing the inanity and absurdity of the capital. And he never will because he takes it all - including himself - too solemnly. Tell me more about Judson, though. He wrote The Great Betrayal, right?

  3. Anonymous4:36 PM

    I would like to recommend Jeffrey Frank's THE COLUMNIST and BAD PUBLICITY.

    THE COLUMNIST is one of my favorites.

    For more information on Jeffrey Frank, visit his site: www.jeffreyfrank.com

  4. Anonymous3:44 AM

    Horace Freeland Judson is a science historian. He wrote one really famous book, about the discovery of the DNA double helix and the ensuing few years -- Eighth Day of Creation. It is a classic, and well-written: I can recommend it.
    However, Judson is extremely opinionated as well as a persusaive writer, and I think it is fair to say that his need to convey his own opinion and stamp over-rules strict accuracy. i.e. he tends to drive a bit mad the scientists who form the subject of his articles and books.
    He's pretty eminent in the US, anyway.

    His daughter, Olivia, is also a writer. She has a column in one of the papers on evolution, called something like "Dr Tatiana's sex advice". It is quite "cute" -- little natural history anecdotes "agony aunt" style, with the biology explained.

    Back to Woodward-- I also read all of Hunter S Thompson. I think that by reading both I get the full spectrum of what passes for ironical political comment in the US these days, but if there is anyone nearer a Waugh equivalent, let me know. I have read a couple of books by a descendant Waugh, there are so many of them I forget the first name, but he's a journalist -- Alexander? I gave up on him with the book in which he argued there is no such thing as the Mafia, and that it had all been invented for propaganda purposes.