October 13, 2008

Guys, give up on the "Ayers wrote Obama's book" idea

Wouldn't a simpler explanation be that Ayers read his colleague Obama's 1995 book before writing his 2001 book, and was influenced by it?

The nautical metaphors in Obama can be explained by the fact that on his Facebook page. Obama lists his eight favorite books and one is "Moby Dick."

Ayers is a funnier, livelier writer than Obama. I can't imagine a ghostwriter producing anything as dull as Obama's Dreams.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

79 comments:

RKU said...

Ha, ha!

Wasn't Steve always the one talking about the tremendous writing of "Dreams from My Father", and how it demonstrated Obama's outstanding writing talent.

Me, I always thought it was absolutely deadly dull, so dull I could never get more than a few pages into it.

Now Steve finally admits it's deadly dull, and claims its too dull to have been produced by a ghostwriter...

Anonymous said...

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=691923

Steve Sailer said...

I've always said it was too dull to be ghostwritten. Here's what I wrote in The American Conservative in March 26, 2007:

The book’s chief weakness is that its main character—Obama himself—is a bit of a drip, a humor-impaired Holden Caulfield whose preppie angst is fueled by racial regret. (Obama has a knack for irony, but of a strangely humorless flavor.)

Why haven’t many grasped the book’s essence? First, Obama’s elegant, carefully wrought prose style makes Dreams a frustratingly slow read, which may explain why the book was remaindered in 1995, and why so few of the many who have purchased it following his famous keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention appear to have read much of it.

Second, the plot isn’t that interesting: his first three decades are too lacking in incident to make a page-turning story. Obama has led a fairly pleasant existence, with most of its suffering and conflict taking place within his own head as he tries to turn himself into an authentic angry black man.

Steve Sailer said...

As I wrote on VDARE.com on 3/25/2007:

While Obama's aptitude as a prose stylist doesn't necessarily mean he'd make a competent Chief Executive, it might be refreshing to have a President who was at least good at something.

One reason few have finished Obama's autobiography, even though it has been on the bestseller list for over a year, is because of the stubborn relentlessness with which he refused to recount any incidents in his life just because they were entertaining or educational or edifying. It's clearly not ghostwritten—any professional hack would have made it less forbiddingly literary, more reader-friendly.

The aesthetic (as opposed to factual) integrity of Dreams is extraordinary. The discipline with which Obama stuck to his one and only theme—his racial identity, his "Story of Race and Inheritance"—for 442 pages is rare among autobiographies…fortunately for readers. Despite my professional interest in his topic, I had trouble finishing his book because it is so lacking in anecdotes.

In contrast, in the extremely unlikely event that I ever wrote my autobiography, I would make sure to put in, say, a funny story about the time I sat around in a bar drinking with Margaret Thatcher. I wouldn't include the anecdote because it was a crucial to understanding the development of my personality, but because any sane reader would be more interested in hearing about a historic figure like Mrs. Thatcher than about me.

But Obama's solipsistic self-obsession won't allow his readers the cheap thrills of his even trying to appeal to their interests rather than his own.

Why has Obama tied his fate to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a tactless race man who is the living opposite of the myth Obama is trying to project about himself?

Anonymous said...

"Why has Obama tied his fate to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a tactless race man who is the living opposite of the myth Obama is trying to project about himself?"

Please elaborate as Obama threw him under the bus and McCain thinks bringing him up is undignified.

BTW, do you still think the reverend will make a comeback just in time for the election? Was he writing a book? I can't remember.

Anonymous said...

Then why did you bother to raise promote the idea on your blog in the first place, Steve?

The idea itself is mind-numbingly absurd given what we know about the hyper-cautious Obama, but seeing supporters defend and propagate the idea is somewhat interesting, an amusing instance of "cut your nose to spite your face" behavior. The idea is so tantalizing to the visceral Obama hater (not only is he too talentless to write his biography himself, it's written by his vile anti-american terrorist friend) that he will pursue it despite how obviously far-fetched it is, and in effect actually undermine the McCain's campaign attempt to make the already tenuous Ayers-Obama connection into an election issue. Instead of having to review the Ayers-Obama history, liberal pundits and the Obama campaign can just point to this laughable theory to bolster their claim that whole thing is just right-wing fantasizing run a muck.

Anonymous said...

Cashill seems to paint a picture of Obama being in over his head when taking up the task of writing his autobiography, but I thought I read on your blog he was commissioned for a more general non-fiction book, something on race and law, that it was of his own initiative that it got changed into an autobiography. Even if you suppose it was an act of hubris, that he found out only along the way he wasn't up to the task, it doesn't seem like it would be that hard to opt to reassure the original project.

call me ishmael said...

I'm not sure that dullness means he wrote it. I've read quite a few deadly-dull novels that were ghostwritten.

I believe he wrote it because he's extraordinarily perceptive about what people are seaching for. Here's, I think, is his best paragraph:

At that moment, I felt as if I were being given a window into her heart, the unreflective heart of her youth. I suddenly realized that the depiction of childlike blacks I was now seeing on the screen, the reverse image of Conrad’s dark savages, was what my mother had carried with her to Hawaii all those years before, a reflection of the simple fantasies that had been forbidden to a white middle-class girl from Kansas, the promise of another life: warm, sensual, exotic, different.

Only with hard, cold eyes could a man see so clearly through his mother's illusions and desires. He has clearly learned how to remain removed from women and allow them to turn him into their ideal.

There are, indeed, many nautical references in Moby Dick, but much more intriguing is what is missing from the Great American Novel -- women. The only appearance of a female is made by Capt Ahab's wife, a woman who remains nameless, better to symoblize every woman who has had her husband desert her to pursue his burning ambition.

I see him as a Michael Corleone, I mean, he doesn't really hide it. He named the Godfathers I & II as the best movies of all time in an interview he did with Katie Couric (if he was striving for authentically black, he would have named Scarface instead). Do we know anything about the rich white girl, his Kay Adams, whom he broke up with? I wonder if that story might be apocryphal.

You are probably right, Steve, when you suggest Ayers was inspired by Obama's book rather than the other way around. Obviously Obama is tremendously appealing to certain types of people, like ex-60's radicals.

It seems many commentators assume that, because his rise has been so meteoric, Obama is someone's puppet. I think he sees all the angles as clearly as he saw into his mother's heart. I imagine he has a lot of people believing they are potential kingmakers. He's very good, and ruthless.

If he ends up becoming the captain of this great nation it will be interesting to see where the ride take us. Who can forget what happened to Capt Ahab's ship?

Steve Sailer said...

By the way, has any of Obama's pre-Michelle girlfriends come forward?

Anonymous said...

By the way, has any of Obama's pre-Michelle girlfriends come forward?

Speaking of poor writing, shouldn't that be "By the way, have any of Obama's pre-Michelle girlfriends come forward?"

master_of_americans said...

I wouldn't say Dreams from My Father was dull. I enjoyed it, although I did take a break for a couple months in the middle. I would say that it's hard to believe that a ghostwriter wrote a book that is so self-obsessed.

Mr. Anon said...

"Steve Sailer said...

I wouldn't include the anecdote because it was a crucial to understanding the development of my personality, but because any sane reader would be more interested in hearing about a historic figure like Mrs. Thatcher than about me."

Given many of Obama's friends and aquaintances - Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Jeremiah Wright, etc. - perhaps he thought it better to pass on recounting amusing anecdotes about the famous people he had met.

Although I would like to know what he thought about Dohrn's "Dig it!" speech.

Duscany said...

I still don't understand how Obama could have written "Dreams From My Father," with all its allusions and metaphors without having written anything like it before. No one sits down and writes a 422 page memoir out of the blue and has it hailed as a masterpiece by Time and the New York Times unless he's at least written a short story before. Apparently Obama's only previous literary effort was a truly pathetic poem for the Occidental College magazine about apes eating figs in a cave.

Glaivester said...

"Why has Obama tied his fate to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a tactless race man who is the living opposite of the myth Obama is trying to project about himself?"

Please elaborate as Obama threw him under the bus and McCain thinks bringing him up is undignified.


If you look at the article Steve is (self-)quoting from, it was written back in March of 2007, a year before Obama "threw Wright under the bus."

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Moby Dick references, me arse! Melville was a lubber.

Every true sailor knows from whence all good nautical references flow.

ahabs sister said...

Sorry, Michelle is the ghostwriter. From what I've seen Obama's writing style is just plain girly. Who else could he and Ayers trust?

Also, I stumbled upon a series of 45 photos of stars who have just recently had children. Most of the couples were white and many were on their second or third child - Nicole Kidman, Minnie Driver, Lisa Marie Presley (4 children to date, none with Michael Jackson), Courtney Thorne Smith, Gwen Stefani, Helena Bonham Carter. Tell LV if you see him. If I could remember the link it would be like birth announcement porn for him.

ahabs sister said...

Oh yes, Obama's appreciation for Moby Dick must be purely deconstructionist or at least an inside joke with Michelle or Rev Wright about that white whale. Can't you imagine him pulling a harpoon out of the back of the coat closet occasionally just to send Michelle into a fit of helpless giggling.

Have I got a plank for Obama!

Ahoy Maties.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "speaking of poor writing," HAS is the correct auxiliary: we don't say "any/none of them do the job," we say "any/none of them does the job." Any/None is NOT plural, and the "them" or "girlfriends" at the end doesn't make it plural. (Also "or" doesn't make the previous sentence plural, so we don't say "'them' or 'girlfriends' don't make it plural, if you get my grammatical drift.)

JD

Richard h said...

"By the way, has any of Obama's pre-Michelle girlfriends come forward?"

Were there that many? How many were mentioned in his books besides the white one who he went to the play with and then broke up with?

Anonymous said...

Uh, no. Sorry.

Are you seriously proposing that we don't say "Can't any of them do the job?" Really? You would say, "Can't any of them does the job?". Please.

But you can also say: "Any of them does the job".

The distinction is in the antecedent. In the first example, it is plural (any of them), while in the second example it is singular (any ONE of them).

Indefinite pronouns take the number of their antecedent.

Jim O'Sullivan said...

"Any" is singular. "Have any.." is as wrong as "everybody have.. ."

Bob said...

Actually, you are both right, sort of.

Either "has" or "have" can be used in that sentence, depending on the intent of the author.

One could imagine an Obama supporter saying "Has ANY of Obama's pre-Michelle girlfriends come forward?", in an attempt to refute some allegation of impropriety. In this example, indefinite pronoun "any" is substituting for "any single girlfriend", since the author wants to emphasize that not a single pre-Michelle girlfriend has come forward.

But one could also imagine a McCain supporter asking the question: "Have any of Obama's pre-Michelle girlfriends come forward?" In this case, the author is substituting the indefinite pronoun "any" for "any [it doesn't matter which one or how many] of Obama's pre-Michelle girlfriends).

In Steve's example, I assume his intent was more similar to the latter, since he wasn't interested in any single girlfriend, but rather in asking whether "any" (one, two, forty) girlfriends had come forward. Verdict: "have" would have been better.

Nesta said...

McCain vs Obama and the future of America, forget it. A grammar war's broken out, and that's serious shit.

Captain Jack fwoiucvwoceu said...

Grammar lessons make me sooooo slee...snzzzzahd9jfoiforvnornivornrugboaufuWEFOWEU!!!!.

Anonymous said...

Are you seriously proposing that we don't say "Can't any of them do the job?" Really? You would say, "Can't any of them does the job?". Please.

You're confusing auxiliaries, Sir. In "any of them can do the job", "can" is the auxiliary, and "can" ain't got no none singular/plural distinction: "we/you/they can" or "he/she/it can."

When we use "present perfect" to ask the question you ask, we don't say "have any of them done the job;" we either say "have they done the job," or "has any of them done the job."

When Steve asks "has any of Obama's girlfriends come forward" he isn't saying "have they ALL come forward;" he's saying "hasn't any ONE of them come forward."

If "have any of them done the job" entered daily usage, it must be thanks to the feminist PC coinage of using "they" for "s/he". In which case, "they" is used as singular, which messes up everything and makes it legitimate to replace "Can Man survive this catastrophe" with "Can They survive this catastrophe." Call me a male chauvinist jackass, but I'm sticking with the old usage.

Can we please put this to rest? If you want to get at Steve (because you too have fallen for the "brilliance" of Obama the insufferable stuffed shirt), pick something else. Rhetorical arguments like "he who can't use an auxiliary correctly shouldn't throw stones at somebody else's I'm-the-original-sufferer-of-the-glass-ceiling ego trip" get boring very quickly.


JD

Private Correspondence said...

Boy, it's really shocking how phenomenally un-informed you people are.

Here is the new Jack Cashill piece which Steve doesn't want to link to (and, judging from private correspondence, doesn't want to be bothered with reading, either):

Obama didn't write 'Dreams from My Father'

Cashill wrote this new piece (his SEVENTH on this question) because of a newly-discovered 1990 essay, attributed to Obama:

Why Organize? Problems and Promise in the Inner City

Here are two excerpts on which Cashill focusses:

Obama, 1990, aged 29: But organizing the black community faces enormous problems as well. One problem is the not entirely undeserved skepticism organizers face in many communities. To a large degree, Chicago was the birthplace of community organizing, and the urban landscape is littered with the skeletons of previous efforts. Many of the best-intentioned members of the community have bitter memories of such failures and are reluctant to muster up renewed faith in the process.

Obama, 1995, aged 34: Winter came and the city turned monochrome-black trees against gray sky above white earth. Night now fell in midafternoon, especially when the snowstorms rolled in, boundless prairie storms that set the sky close to the ground, the city lights reflected against the clouds.

Keeping in mind that the first excerpt was written by a young man who had received a bachelor's degree from an Ivy League institution seven years prior to writing the excerpt, I'd love to learn your theories about the genesis of his literary transformation into the author of the second excerpt, a mere five years later.

For that matter, I get in excess of half a million hits for "Obama" video at YouTube:

youtube obama

If you can find ANY SINGLE ONE OF THEM wherein Obama is speaking in sentences which resemble the 1995 excerpt, rather than the 1990 excerpt, then I will be happy to shut up and go away with my tail between my legs.

I have been listening to the guy for more than 18 months now, and I have NEVER heard anything come out of his mouth which even remotely resembled the structure of the second excerpt.

But I have heard hours and hours and hours of his drivel which is as bad (or worse) than that sentence with "organizing" as a noun and "faces" as a verb:

But ORGANIZING the black community FACES enormous problems as well.

Again, I plead: Show me any independent evidence that Obama is capable of even imagining the second excerpt.

PS: I don't know if it was William Ayers or some other person who wrote "Dreams" (there are plenty of computer software packages out there which should be able narrow down the candidates pretty quickly) - all I know is that I have NEVER heard anything out of Obama which would support the 1995 personality, and EVERYTHING I have ever heard out of Obama supports the 1990 personality.

editor at large said...

"By the way, has any of Obama's pre-Michelle girlfriends come forward?"

Correct Steve's grammar day?

I thought he had an editor.

"Girlfriends" is a count noun and is in the plural. One or more than one might come forward. Therefore, the verb must be in the plural.

Now if Steve had written something like:

Has any one of Obama's past girlfriends come forward? ("one" being singular unless you are teaching math and referring to the ones place)

or

Has any of Obama's past girlfriend's body surfaced? (though I find this awkward thinking in terms of body parts which would take the plural "have")

or

Has any of Obama's sordid past come to light? (past generally being a non count noun unless you are Shirley MacLaine)

The singular "has" would be correct.

Finally, even if by some decree of post modern usage Steve's sentence is correct, it is awkward and non standard therefore should be revised.

Reg Cæsar said...

Speaking of poor writing, shouldn't that be "By the way, have any of Obama's pre-Michelle girlfriends come forward?"

My Fowler's says, "Any is correctly used with both singular and plural nouns..."

The closest it comes to backing the anonymous criticism is, "Any, anybody and anyone (as well as other indefinite pronouns) are now frequently, if somewhat controversially, followed by the plural pronouns they or their... Popular usage and historical precedent favour the use of a plural pronoun in such cases, but many writers prefer to use he..."

So Steve is quite justified to use has.

And didn't he once say "rude and wrong make a bad combination"?

Mr Apostrophe said...

"By the way, has any of Obama's pre-Michelle girlfriends come forward?

"Speaking of poor writing, shouldn't that be "By the way, have any of Obama's pre-Michelle girlfriends come forward?"

10/13/2008

Sorry, boy--Sailer is correct with "has," as any takes a singular verb.

Anonymous said...

No ex-girlfriends have come forward. No college friends have come forward. According to Obama, he never really knew his spiritual mentor, Rev. Wright, and Ayers was just a guy from the neighborhood. Are people seriously going to vote for a guy they know nothing about?

Anonymous said...

It takes a very special white person to argue about grammar on the internet. Good Lord.

Anonymous said...

"Any" is singular. "Have any.." is as wrong as "everybody have.. ."

Wrong again.

Are you seriously proposing that it is correct to say:
"Has any windows been broken?"

Of course not. It is "Have any windows been broken".

Half Sigma said...

"I still don't understand how Obama could have written "Dreams From My Father," with all its allusions and metaphors without having written anything like it before."

Some who can write tests well enough to earn magna caum laude from Harvard Law School is capable of writing a memoir.

Did you graduate from law school? I did.

Anonymous said...

"Some who can write tests well enough to earn magna caum laude from Harvard Law School is capable of writing a memoir.

Did you graduate from law school? I did."

So? Barney Frank, Franklin Raines, and David Frum all graduated from Harvard Law. I'm not impressed.

Anonymous said...

"Do we know anything about the rich white girl, his Kay Adams, whom he broke up with? I wonder if that story might be apocryphal."

Yes, the excerpt Steve posted reads like pure fiction (at least as concerns her being an "old-money WASP").

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, so why does the Hudson flow both ways in both books?

Anonymous said...

Siggy says:

"Some who can write tests well enough to earn magna caum laude from Harvard Law School is capable of writing a memoir.

Did you graduate from law school? I did."

So, where's your memoir? Where are the memoirs for all the rest of those who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School?

testing99 said...

Did Obama write the thing?

Joe Klein was outed as the author of Primary Colors by textual analysis with some computer program -- presumably the same thing could be applied to Dreams and known texts written by Obama and Ayers.

What is more intriguing is the rumors swirling about Obama's ill-documented days at Columbia. Some have suggested that he was involved in a terrorist bombing with Ayers against the touring Springboks team from South Africa.

Others that he had a depressive episode and may have been hospitalized. Or that he had a serious drug habit that kept him fairly immobile. Or that he was arrested for drugs, possession or selling. Or perhaps something else, like involvement in radical mosques known to be operating at the time.

Certainly, no one seems to remember him at all at Columbia, whereas he made a big splash at Harvard, and Occidental a few years before, and earlier in HS where he was a fave of the girls and the BMOC.

Computer analysis of the known texts written by Obama and Ayers should be able to finger who wrote Dreams.

But far more interesting is just WHAT Obama was doing during his time at Columbia. I don't think he was planting bombs, particularly since no one even recalls him. My guess, given his self-absorption, likely some form of Islam he now wishes to erase from his past.

Belle Isle said...

Law students and graduates are typically talentless hacks when it comes to creativity. Obama would be a rare exception if he had any talent. There is no evidence that he has either talent or wit--unless given to him by speechwriter or ghostwriter.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it almost sounds like someone hacked into this site and is posting under Steve's name. Such an about face. He always claimed that there were attempts to make it seem different but there were still key phrases in both books. A writing style is pretty much an individual style. I guess that means I can no longer read this blog spot because he posted something he believed in and now claims he was dishonest in his review of the Memoires.

Truth said...

Stuff white people like #468:

Persnickety grammar/spelling flames.

RKU said...

This whole debate made me hunt down my copy of DREAMS, and take another look.

It's still too deadly dull to read at length, since its all about Obama's thoughts and feelings, and he's never seemed a very interesting person to me, nor does the book discuss anything he's done that's very interesting. Also, since it's "fictionalized," it's hardly reliable source material.

But picking a few random pages here and there, it's clearly well written, produced by a talented, professional writer with solid skill.

Since there seems absolutely zero evidence of Obama having ever written anything of such solid, professional quality either before or afterward, I'm pretty doubtful he wrote DREAMS either. Writing well isn't a totally trivial skill, and there's no reason to believe that Obama possesses it.

On the other hand, if Obama HAD written his own book, he'd be about the only prominent politician or celebrity I can think who did that (excluding Jim Webb!). And since I'll bet that Obama at least contributed to the draft at some point, that puts him ahead of many.

I don't have any particular reason to think it was that Ayres fellow, but I do wonder who the real author was.

Mr Apostrophe said...

Any" is singular. "Have any.." is as wrong as "everybody have.. ."

Wrong again.

Are you seriously proposing that it is correct to say:
"Has any windows been broken?"

Of course not. It is "Have any windows been broken".

10/14/2008

I obviously meant when any is used as a pronoun, which is how sailer used it.

eg: if any of you assholes IS stupid enough to vote for BO

tommy said...

Wow! I imagine this didn't get mentioned in Fugitive Days.

call me ishmael said...

In the following passage Obama tells his sister visiting from Africa about his white girlfriend.

Well...there was a woman in New York that I loved. She was white. She had dark hair, and specks of green in her eyes. Her voice sounded like a wind chime. We saw each other for almost years. On the weekends, mostly. Sometimes in her apartment, sometimes in mine. You know how you can fall into your own private world? Just two people, hidden and warm. Your own language. Your own customs. That's how it was.

In the Godfather, we first meet Michael and Kay during the wedding scene, where they are sitting at their own private table, away from the Corleone family. Later, when Vito Corleone is shot, Michael and Kay are shopping together in New York. Not very manly on Michael's spot. He's still a youthful and idealistic kid, living in a dream world with his Ivy League-educated WASP girlfriend.

In "Dreams," Obama claims to have visited his girlfriend's family:

'Anyway, one weekend she invited me to her family's country house. It was autumn, beautiful, with woods all around us, and we paddled a canoe across this round, icy lake full of small gold leaves. 'The house was very old. The library was filled with old books and pictures of her grandfather with famous people he had known - presidents, diplomats, industrialists. 'There was this tremendous gravity to the room. Standing in that room, I realised that our two worlds, my friend's and mine, were as distant from each other as could be. 'And I knew that if we stayed together I'd eventually live in hers. After all, I'd been doing it most of my life. Between the two of us, I was the one who knew how to live as an outsider.

She's not just white, she's really white. Obama breaks up with her because he realizes, like Michael Corleone, that they couldn't live together in the same world. Remember Micheal breaks up with Kay in the Godfather and then hides away in Sicily. While there he marries an Sicilian girls and discovers his true identity. She is murdered and he returns to America transformed. In "Dreams," Obama's trip to Kenya is similiarly transformative.

By the way, what are the dreams that Obama inherited from his father? Once again, I return to The Godfather:

Vito:I never wanted this for you. I work my whole life--I don't apologize--to take care of my family, and I refused to be a fool, dancing on the string held by all those bigshots. I don't apologize--that's my life--but I thought that, that when it was your time, that you would be the one to hold the string. Senator Corleone; Governor Corleone. Well, this wasn't enough time, Michael. It wasn't enough time.

Michael: We'll get there, pop. We'll get there."


Obama's dream is to be the Big Man. He's almost there.

Below is a quote from "Dreams." I can't remember to whom Obama attributes it, but I don't think it matters. I suspect these are really all his.

"I tell you one thing I admire about white folks," he continued. "They know who they are. Look at the Italians. They didn't care about the American flag and all that when they got here. First thing they did is put together the Mafia to make sure their interests were met. The Irish -- they took over the city hall and found their boys jobs. The Jews, some thing...you telling me they care more about some black kids in the South Side than they do 'bout they relatives in Israel? Shit. It's about bood, Barack, looking after your own. Period. Black people the only ones stupid enough to worry about their enemies."

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Report from the Immigration is Bad for Conservatism Department:

But not a single Conservative seat in Toronto apparently...

That's David Frum on the Canadian elections. Toronto is immigration central in Canada. A city where, Wikipedia says, 46.9% of residents belong to a visible minority.

Steve Sailer said...

The Godfather analogies are interesting.

Also, I wonder if he got some of the perfect WASP girlfriend idea from one of his favorite writers, Philip Roth. Portnoy's Complaint and Roth's other countless books are full of WASP shiksas.

Anonymous said...

When I first read Obama's account of breaking up with his waspy girlfriend after a visit to her parents' home, I was reminded of Roth's description of his black protagonist's rejection by his white girlfriend after a visit to his family in "The Human Stain".

I wonder if Obama identified with Queequeg in "Moby Dick". The charismatic outsider ...

fact-slap said...

private correspondence writes:

"I have been listening to the guy for more than 18 months now, and I have NEVER heard anything come out of his mouth which even remotely resembled the structure of the second excerpt."

It's rather amusing that on a site like this which emphasizes
the reality of IQ and how much the average person is capable of understanding, that the simplicity of Obama's political discourse is taken to illustrate his lack of intellect and not the larger public he is pandering to.

Doubt this will persuade you, but this excerpt from an article on his teaching at U Chicago suggests that Obama can engage issues with much more depth and complexity when he has an audience capable of actually understanding him.


"But as a professor, students say, Mr. Obama was in the business of complication, showing that even the best-reasoned rules have unintended consequences, that competing legal interests cannot always be resolved, that a rule that promotes justice in one case can be unfair in the next.

So even some former students who are thrilled at Mr. Obama’s success wince when they hear him speaking like the politician he has so fully become.

“When you hear him talking about issues, it’s at a level so much simpler than the one he’s capable of,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “He was a lot more fun to listen to back then.


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/us/politics/30law.html?_r=1&ref=politics&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin

David said...

steve said

I wonder if he got some of the perfect WASP girlfriend idea from one of his favorite writers, Philip Roth. Portnoy's Complaint and Roth's other countless books are full of WASP shiksas.

Wouldn't be surprised to learn that Roth wrote both Obama books. He's rather committed politically like Ben Hecht was. But then a lot of them are.

Dedalus said...

"The aesthetic (as opposed to factual) integrity of Dreams is extraordinary. The discipline with which Obama stuck to his one and only theme—his racial identity, his "Story of Race and Inheritance"—for 442 pages is rare among autobiographies…"

"aesthetic integrity"?
"discipline"?

Narrow and inflexible are the words I would use. Tne sort of narrowness and inflexibility of someone totally self-engrossed.

I didn't finish the book either simply because it depressed me. Why?
Because he was just so pretentious, shallow and self-absorbed. An annoying, self-important nerd who presents opinions as if they were ultimate truths, like his whole take on the now famous story about the talk between his grandmother and grandfather after she gave some black guy money that was bothering her. How embarrassing.

The Presidential Election for me now is almost indistinguishable from the Miss America Pageant.
You KNOW there are literally hundreds of thousands of people prettier (smarter) and more talented (competent). And you KNOW someone we'll probably never meet has chosen her for their own selfish reasons that have nothing to do with the contest itself.
You also know once they win they're going to spend their time as Miss America (the President) going around the Country doing what they're told.
Oh, and with both, there was a time when people, even those normally not interested in such things, used to pay attention to the contest and actually cared who won.

Jim O'Sullivan said...

I hate getting involved in stuff like this. I should know better by now. "Have any..." would be incorrect, IN THE CONTEXT OF SAILER'S SENTENCE! Which is what aithought we were discussing.
Now I promise I will never join this sort of argument again.

C. Van Carter said...

Obama claimed the reason he went to Occidental was “mainly because I’d met a girl from Brentwood while she was vacationing in Hawaii.” Maybe things not working out with this girl led to his transfer to Columbia?

In college it seems like everyone knew of him, but few actually knew him, though another reason you don't hear much from his best friends is who they were.

Anonymous said...

There's a blogger out of Chicago who has discovered some strange gaps in the Ayers corpus which coincide with the publication of Dreams in 1995 and Audacity in 2006:

More Evidence that Ayers Ghostwrote Obama's Books - Updated with Corrections
UPDATED 10/14/08 at 9:08 pm.
experimentumcrucis.blogspot.com

...Between 1989 and 2008, William Ayers wrote around 17 different books. During this time frame, he averaged one year between each of his published works, that is, except for two distinct breaks that appear in Ayers' publishing history. The first break that we see with Ayers book releases was between April of 1989 and August of 1995. Dreams From My Father was published during the time that Ayers had that break. The second break by William Ayers took place between September 2005 and basically right now. During this second break Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope was released...

He's got a big HTML table showing the timeline of the Ayers corpus, with the two gaping temporal holes in it.

Anonymous said...

I can't find anything on Obama's exs. How hard can it be find one or two? Hell, I even came across a McCain sexual conquest from 50 years ago.

Michael T said...

I am Lugash.

Just kidding. Had you going, though.

Some who can write tests well enough to earn magna caum laude from Harvard Law School is capable of writing a memoir.


Hang on, shouldn't that be are capable?

Canson said...

"Also, I wonder if he got some of the perfect WASP girlfriend idea from one of his favorite writers, Philip Roth."

Is Philip Roth the guy that wrote "Caddy Shack"? I mean there's BHO playing Danny Noonan to her Lacy Underall. All that's missing is an enraged grandfather busting the place up with a five iron.

Steve Sailer said...

Personally, I thought what I wrote after staying up all night working sounded pretty bad grammatically, but if it was (were?) technically OK, then, like, swell!

call me ishmael said...

Steve, I think your post about the passive-aggressive behavior of Obama's mother is the most insightful analysis of Obama that I've seen. But I have to say I'm a bit about confused about the conclusion you drew from your otherwise superb reading of the book.

"But he fell hook, line, and sinker for her canonization of his absent father, with whom he only spent one month after the age of two."

While that certainly may have been true at some point, especially before he made his trip to Kenya, that obviously wasn't the case by the time he wrote his book. You correctly understood the author's intent: women are fools, especially white women. It would appear that, as he admits in this interview, Philip Roth did in fact very much shape his sensibility.

I'm starting to lean that way myself. If Obama's elected president, it will be because of those silly white women, like his mother, whom he holds in such contempt. And having defeated both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin along the way will only make that victory more sweet.

She had only one ally in all this, and that was the distant authority of my father. Increasingly, she would remind me of his story, how he had grown up poor, in a poor country, in a poor continent; how his life had been hard, as hard as anything that Lolo might have known. He hadn't cut corners though, or played all the angles. He was diligent and honest, no matter what it cost him. He had led his life according to principles that demanded a different kind of toughness, principles that promised a higher form of power. I would follow his example, my mother decided. I had no choice. It was in the genes.

That was written by a man who understands human nature. Give women the illusion of exoticism, perserve that illusion by keeping them at a distance, and never let them know that you see all the angles and cut every corner.

Svigor said...

Are you seriously proposing that it is correct to say:
"Has any windows been broken?"


I resisted until this point; the suggestion is, "has any of the windows been broken," which seems to me to imply that a subset, possibly a subset of one, is being sought.

Svigor said...

Persnickety grammar/spelling flames.

I for one can't phathom it.

Psychometrician said...

"Doubt this will persuade you, but this excerpt from an article on his teaching at U Chicago suggests that Obama can engage issues with much more depth and complexity when he has an audience capable of actually understanding him."

Are you referring to the stultifying marxist rhetoric that creates an endless loop that despite all the nuance is always resolved by being unjust to the white guy or taking his money. I think this reveals a capacity for rationalization in order to feel good about committing criminal acts rather than evidence of high IQ.

Obama has never seemed to challenge the beliefs given him by his mother and grandfather. The lack of a period of questioning that either affirmed the communist indoctrination of his early childhood or caused a change of heart indicates that Obama isn't intellectually curious therefore he probably isn't the genius he pretends to be.

So all we can truly say is that Obama has lived among European Americans long enough to have to come up with an elaborate reason why it's more moral to deny them their freedom and confiscate their wealth than to respect their right to self rule and enjoyment of personal property.

Anonymous said...

"When I first read Obama's account of breaking up with his waspy girlfriend after a visit to her parents' home, I was reminded of Roth's description of his black protagonist's rejection by his white girlfriend after a visit to his family in "The Human Stain"."

And "American Pastoral" was about man whose daughter was a fugitive member of the Weather Underground. Both "Stain" and "Pastoral" were published after Dreams from my Father.

Private Correspondence said...

fact-slap: Doubt this will persuade you, but this excerpt from an article on his teaching at U Chicago suggests that Obama can engage issues with much more depth and complexity when he has an audience capable of actually understanding him...

What I've read about Obama's "teaching" at Chicago was that the classroom quickly degenerated into extended B.S. sessions about nonsense like reparations for slavery, which then further degenerated into little more than rank social gossip.

And no, I'm not going to bother with reading any hagiographical Obamaolatry out of the NYTimes.

But getting back to the original question I asked: If Obama was such a path-breaking, world-class legal scholar, then where is the paper trail to prove it?

And, more specifically, where are the legal treatises written in the style of Cashill's 1995 excerpt, rather than the style of Cashill's 1990 excerpt?

Oh, wait a minute - I forgot: In 12+ years as a "constitutional law expert" at the University of Chicago, Obama wrote all of ZERO legal treatises, ZERO legal commentaries, ZERO legal texts, and, really, for that matter, ZERO single solitary pages of ANYTHING with his name on it.

Anonymous said...

I can't find anything on Obama's exs. How hard can it be find one or two? Hell, I even came across a McCain sexual conquest from 50 years ago.

The man (McCain) is clearly shallow: a hotheaded graduate at the bottom of his class who chases after a Brazilian beauty queen, marries an American one, then dumps her after her accident for an Arizona beer heiress, buys 7 homes, 13 cars, and has a daughter who dresses like a skank ho and looks like she's had breast implants.

The man makes George W Bush look like a deep thinker.

Reg Cæsar said...

So all we can truly say is that Obama has lived among European Americans long enough...
--Psychometrician

"European Americans", with or without a hyphen, is a contradiction in terms.

Really, Cerdic left Europe 15 centuries ago. We should be weaned by now.

An American said...

""European Americans", with or without a hyphen, is a contradiction in terms.

Really, Cerdic left Europe 15 centuries ago. We should be weaned by now."

I'm glad to hear that "African American", "Hispanic American", and "Asian American" are all obsolete terms. And since you can't be anything but an American, therefore not any more equal than any other American, unconstitutional and racist Affirmative Action policies are obsolete as well.

Thanks, reg caesar, this is better than Christmas, Valentines Day, my marriage to prince charming, my 21st birthday every year, the replacing of the income tax with a sales tax and winning the lottery combined. I'd kiss you if I met you, reg. Will there be a nationwide celebration tomorrow? Oh dear, where will I find a bottle of champagne on such short notice?

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Anonymous said...

My guess, is that Dreams was either ghost written, or heavily edited, but not by a pro.

The prose is stylish, workmanlike, but ultimately not very good. That's why so many put the book down. It lacks originality. It's all mediocre to decent performance, but no guts. The voice is fake, like a not so good ventriloquist.

Compare any random sample to any of the really good American stuff. Take any of Thoreau, Twain, Dos Passos, Hemingway, Updike, et al.

Not that a southside pool needs to write like a champ--he doesn't.

So Sad said...

and has a daughter who dresses like a skank ho and looks like she's had breast implants

I don't like when people bring in the children of canidates except in the case of Palin.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: My guess, is that Dreams was either ghost written, or heavily edited, but not by a pro.

Which is PRECISELY Cashill's conclusion: Dreams was either ghost written by, or heavily edited by, a certain education professor at UIC who moonlighted as a semi-professional writer.

Anonymous said...

You guys have GOT to read Cashill's newest piece:

Evidence Mounts: Ayers Co-Wrote Obama's Dreams
By Jack Cashill
October 17, 2008
americanthinker.com

He's found a 1993 text by Ayers from which an anecdote in Dreams (1995) was almost certainly lifted.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

If I'm not mistaken, didn't Obama get a first advance for his autobiography only not to write the book? Then he got a second advance for what ultimately became Dreams? If so, could it possibly be that he did finish the book but it sucked, so he went out and got a ghostwriter for his second attempt?

Forgive me if this has already been mentioned, either here or by Cashill.

RKU said...

The latest Cashill installment seemed persuasive enough that I actually took a look at a few pages of Ayres' book on Amazon. What do you know!---the writing style DOES seem remarkably similar to that of Obama's "Dreams." I'd say there's a pretty good chance that Cashill has nailed the story.

And Ayres' young ghost-protege will probably soon be in the White House, not least because of the intellectual ability displayed in his autobiographical prose.

Next thing, I bet someone will start claiming that JFK, another one of our most brilliant presidents, didn't actually write his Pulitzer-Prize winning "Profiles in Courage"....

Anonymous said...

Captain Jack Aubrey: If I'm not mistaken, didn't Obama get a first advance for his autobiography only not to write the book? Then he got a second advance for what ultimately became Dreams? If so, could it possibly be that he did finish the book but it sucked, so he went out and got a ghostwriter for his second attempt? Forgive me if this has already been mentioned, either here or by Cashill.

CJA - that's almost exactly Cashill's thesis - that sometime after Obama failed to meet the deadline on his original contract, Obama went to Ayers and dumped a few hundreds pages of incoherent nonsense in Ayers's lap, which Ayers ultimately rearranged into the book which was published under the second contract.

tommy said...

You might believe that Obama has a natural gift for writing, but that gift is absent in the few things he has published beyond his biographies. You might instead believe that Obama has improved with practice, but then we must emphasize the paucity of his output.

If Obama is the sole writer of Dreams and Audacity, then his non-biographical work must be an aberration or he must have written an enormous amount of unpublished material.

Anonymous said...

Steve, have you read Narrative Push/Narrative Pull"? It's all about creating a credible first person narrator (Well, there is some other stuff about Charles Murray and The Bell Curve.)

Jonathan Silber said...

Under water grottos, caverns
Filled with apes
That eat figs.
Stepping on the figs
That the apes
Eat, they crunch.
The apes howl, bare
Their fangs, dance . . .

Though the above poem by Obama could benefit from a bit more refining, who can deny it is the work of a outstanding intellect, of a superior mind?

Maybe one of the apes ate his high I.Q., instead of a fig.

Anonymous said...

Obama’s review of Ayers’ book says, “A searing and timely account of the juvenile court system, and the courageous individuals who rescue hope from despair.”

http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?p=64