The latest red flag for Trump critics has been the plagiarized words that his wife spoke at the Republican National Convention. But that isn’t the only word-related alarum.
As documented by the evil Bezos-owned Washington Post, Donald Trump hates to read books. “Trump’s desk is piled high with magazines, nearly all of them with himself on their covers, and each morning, he reviews a pile of printouts of news articles about himself that his secretary delivers to his desk. But there are no shelves of books in his office, no computer on his desk.”
Mind you, this slighting of books would hardly be new in the Oval Office. Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, for example, as Marc Fisher notes in the Post, “preferred to have issues presented to them in short memos or orally.” No, the real question is the extent of Trump’s hatred of extra-long-form reading despite his dodgy claim to have read “hundreds of books on China” and to love works like All Quiet on the Western Front. I absolutely believe that Trump has cracked open and maybe even memorized Unlikeable: The Problem with Hillary, no surprise since it confirms for him the validity of an existing hatred. But how about more essential reading? If Trump were at least minimally well-read, would he be so under-appreciative of such basic American political concepts as separation of powers?
“It’s certainly legitimate to desire a reflective person in the Oval Office, but the absence of that isn’t inherently dangerous,” the Post quotes historian David Greenberg. “In Trump’s case, his attitude toward reading is hardly unprecedented, but when you combine it with the vulgarity and the authoritarian style, it shows a locker-room, business-world machismo that pervades his persona.”
Rx ebooks and the rest?
The last calamity I want in D.C. is Trump in the White House, but if, God forbid, he makes it there, might he possibly benefit from ebooks so that il Duce is a little more enlightened about, say, climate change or the human adversaries he faces?
I won’t get my hopes up. A genuine interest in books and reading must come first. But let’s dream. George W. Bush, married to a librarian, actually owns a Kindle; should Trump buy one as well? As shown by his oft-incoherent statements in response to questions, people are wondering whether Trump suffers from some kind of attention-deficit disorder/hyperactivity disorder or a variant. An ereader like Kobo‘s could serve up typography in a number of ways to accommodate Trump’s brain. Kindles and Fires would offer far fewer choices in that regard—they can’t even do all-text bold. But at least Fires would come with text to speech and could play audiobooks. Not that gadgets are a panacea. Might appropriate meds help as well?
Whatever the cure or cures, a better-read Trump would be more of an inspiration for K-12 students and others than the present model. Maybe—to indulge in extreme fantasy—he would even open himself up to the idea of well-stocked national digital library systems and national digital library endowments in the United States and elsewhere. He might even resist House Speaker Paul Ryan’s future efforts to defund the Institute of Library and Museum Services. Of course, we would still need to worry about il Duce trying to censor libraries’ contents. But then, as shown by a lawsuit against biographer Tim O’Brien and Trump’s wish for laws to allow more libel suits, il Duce would threaten freedom of expression no matter what the medium or business model.
Image credit: Here.