Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bizarre Back Page in STYLE

The Back Page of STYLE Weekly’s May 28 issue is ostensibly about presidential politics. Penned by ’Rick Gray, it begins with this paragraph -- “I am a liberal.” Gray’s commentary then meanders for eight more graphs, using the word “I” 13 more times before it mentions a 2008 presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain.

With so much to write about, to do with Richmond’s suddenly wide open mayoral race, it was somewhat surprising to see national politics be the subject of a Back Page treatment. A reading of Gray’s piece brought on a reaction beyond surprise; in a single word perhaps “baffled” serves best.

The thrust of Gray’s screed seems to be that if Republican McCain wins in 2008, it will produce a Democratic president in 2012, one who would be better than Sen. Barack Obama. And, that McCain is actually a moderate who wouldn’t be so bad. He wouldn’t appoint right-wingers to the Supreme Court. Furthermore, if Obama wins in 2008 he will be a miserable failure, because he is bound to get bogged down cleaning up President George Bush’s mess, and so forth...

Here’s an excerpt:
I’m also uneasy about Sen. Barack Obama for reasons that haven’t really been explored by the lemmings of the mainstream media.

For one thing, Obama reminds me of a lot of smart guys I’ve known -- fellow Echols Scholars at the University of Virginia and classmates at the U.Va. School of Law -- brilliant young guys who believed that academic success and intellectual prowess automatically made them leaders. That all they needed was power and they could solve all the problems that confound older, less brilliant minds.

There’s a subtle arrogance about Obama that I’ve seen before, and it troubles me.
Here's another. See if you can figure out what it means.
I can live with John McCain. With the single exception of Iraq -- a quagmire apt to prove intractable for any president -- McCain could not be more different from the incumbent.
Huh! McCain could not be what? Click here to read the entire piece.

At first the Back Page OpEd seemed like a particularly warped argument to support Sen. Hillary Clinton’s fizzling campaign, coming through a backdoor. Or, maybe a side window. After a second reading, while it does slam Obama, well, I don’t know what the hell ‘Rick Gray was trying to accomplish.

Among other puzzlements, Gray claims rather unconvincingly to be a liberal. While his analysis shows he keeps up with politics, it reveals much more about the conflicts in how the author feels about a smorgasbord of topics than it does about any of the candidates.

Speaking of "revealing," while the Back Page maybe be difficult to understand, the meaning of the cover of STYLE Weekly's current issue is quite easy to grasp.

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