Decision Points vs. Dreams from My Father
Decision Points by George W. Bush
Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
BEST POLITICAL DISCUSSION STARTER EVER!
Read President Obama’s Dreams from My Father with a Decision Points book jacket over it. When some wise-acre says something derisive like, “Worst president ever,” you whip off the jacket and retort, “Yes! Yes, he is!”
This set-up can also work in reverse, with a Dreams from My Father jacket covering a Decision Points book.
Whether you think Bush sucks or Obama sucks, whether you think of Bush as the worst president ever or Obama as the worst president ever, this trick is the BEST POLITICAL CONVERSATION STARTER EVER!
WHICH PRESIDENTS REALLY WROTE THEIR OWN MEMOIRS?
Whenever a famous person writes a memoir, there is speculation and debate about whether or not that celebrity truly wrote the book. That happens because ghostwriting seems to be kind of accepted in the memoir business. So now there are those who question whether both our previous and current presidents wrote their respective memoirs, Decision Points and Dreams from My Father. In President Bush’s case, some people are skeptical that he can write at all, much less finish a 500 page page-turner. With President Obama, it was the flowery prose and poetic imagery that made conspiracy theorists shake their heads.
Here at Dysfunctional Literacy, we have a simple technique to determine if a famous person truly wrote his or her book. We read the words aloud, and if we can picture the alleged author speaking, if we can hear his voice along with the words, then we figure that the celebrity actually wrote the book.
First is a short excerpt from Decision Points by George Bush, from the first page of Chapter 1.
“I have a habitual personality. I smoked cigarettes for about nine years, starting in college. I quit smoking by dipping snuff. I quit that by chewing long-leaf tobacco. Eventually I got down to cigars.”
When you read that, can you picture President Bush uttering those words? The verdict from the staff at Dysfunctional Literacy is… yes. We proudly declare that President Bush is the true author of Decision Points. That was a no-brainer.
Next is a short excerpt from Dreams from My Father, from the first page of Chapter 1.
“I was living in New York at the time, on Ninety-fourth between Second and First, part of that unnamed, shifting border between East Harlem and the rest of Manhattan. It was an uninviting block, treeless and barren, lined with soot-colored walk-ups that cast heavy shadows for most of the day. The apartment was small, with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didn’t work, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around an empty beer bottle.”
When you read that excerpt, can you hear President Obama uttering those same words? We at Dysfunctional Literacy weren’t so certain. Something just didn’t seem quite right. Maybe, just maybe, Barack Obama did have a ghostwriter for his memoir. Then we thought, how arrogant can you be, to not only write a memoir before you become famous but then to also hire a ghostwriter to pen it for you? That is the height of youthful narcissism! Perhaps the conspiracy theorists were on to something!
Then we realized what the problem was. The editors probably made a slight change to Obama’s original text that completely altered his voice. Here is what the excerpt might have looked like before the editors changed it.
“Uh, let me be clear. I was living in New York at the time, on Ninety-fourth between Second and First, part of that unnamed, uh, shifting border between East Harlem and the rest of Manhattan. Let me be frank, it was an uninviting block, treeless and barren, uh, lined with soot-colored walk-ups that cast heavy shadows for most of the day. The apartment was small, uh, with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didn’t work, uh, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where, let me be clear, a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around, uh, an empty beer bottle.”
Okay, now that sounds like the President Obama we try to tune out every day. We at Dysfunctional Literacy proudly declare that Barack Obama is truly the author of Dreams from My Father!
And shame on all of you that would doubt the literary integrity of our Commanders in Chief.