Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Weirdest Hagiography Yet

Edmund Morris in the New Yorker

He was a natural athlete, with a peculiarly graceful Algonquin gait that brought him into rooms almost soundlessly. No matter how fast he moved (that big body could turn on a dime), he was always balanced.

One recalls how elegantly he choreographed Mikhail Gorbachev up the steps at the 1985 Geneva summit: an arabesque of dark blue flowing around awkward gray.

"An arabesque"? *BARF*

On the other hand,

Reagan redux did not care whom he bored, as long as nobody tried to stop him. His famous anecdotes, recounted with a speed and economy that were the verbal equivalent of balance, were persuasive on the first, and even the fourth, telling. But when you heard them for the fourteenth, or the fortieth, time, always with exactly the same inflections and chuckles and glances, you realized that he was a bore in the sense that a combine harvester is boring: its only purpose is to bear down upon and thresh whatever grain lies in its path. Reagan used homilies to harvest people.


I don't think this is true:

Actually, Reagan never required makeup, even when he was a movie actor.

Oh yeah? Well, I distinctly remember my best friend in 5th grade coming to school in one of those "I Ran Into Ronald Reagan At The Mall" tee shirts.

And this isn't quite right either:

Several of my cards itemize the President’s deafness. People who sat to his right imagined that they were privileged. In fact, he heard nothing on that side, having blown an eardrum during a shoot-out scene in one of his old movies. His left ear was not much better, so he relied increasingly on hearing aids, although their distortion pained him. One learned not to sneeze in his presence. When the room was crowded and voice levels rose, he would furtively switch off his sound box. I could tell from a slight frown in his gaze that he was lip-reading.

Come on. This ignores his brother's well-known testimony that Reagan would switch off his hearing aid and begin to doodle or play with his fingers when he didn't want to listen to anyone -- and not in a crowd, but in a meeting.

Rumors of the President nodding off during meetings were unfounded: he never napped during the day. But this did not stop him joking that his Cabinet chair should be labelled “Reagan Slept Here.”

Oh for God's sake, Morris. IF there was any time that Reagan told the truth, it was in these little instances of self-deprecation. I'll take the rumours, of which there are many, over your idolatry any old day.

Anyway, there's more, not all of it bad, in the article.