Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My favorite novel

This whole Mitt Romney loving Battlefield Earth thing got me thinking. While my first impression is of course to laugh at him, the question is a lot tougher than I thought.

If I were Romney, and was asked what my favorite novel is (I mean, duh, favorite book has to be the Bible or your campaign is toast), what would I say? Scanning through my favorite novels, I don't know that any of them would be amenable to the voting public. Let's review:
  • Catcher in the Rye. Naughty language.
  • A Passage to India. Too foreign.
  • Catch-22. Too anti-war. Might offend veterans.
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany. Might offend the Religious Right.
  • Good Omens. Might offend the Religious Right. And possibly Queen fans.
  • The Color Purple. Might offend asshole men (but on the upside, plays well to the Oprah crowd.)
  • Pride and Prejudice. Too girly.
  • Anne of Green Gables. Anti-American.

So should I take this opportunity to announce my decision not to run for president of the United States? Instead, I'll start working on grassroots support for a future run for Prime Minister of Canada.

How would you answer the question, and how would it disqualify you from becoming president?

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15 Comments:

Blogger Quinn said...

Duh. Forgot to add any of the Harry Potter books, which might offend the Religious Right. Wow, I have a lot of books that might offend the Religious Right!

5:32 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

What doesn't offend them??

Have you seen the tv show, "Canada's Next Great Prime Minister"?

wv: gvutalc
(apparently I need to give you talcum powder)

7:34 PM  
Anonymous kr said...

On fiction I'd be screwed because I like

British fiction (and specifically, English fiction)
and
Fantasy (some Brit, mostly American)
oh, and
African American Issues fiction
(well, and the Anne of Green Gables stuff, for which turnon thanks ... :) )

all of these (even AoGG) delve deliberately into what I consider deeper issues than most American fiction ever touches ... ergo, I have a superiority complex and am very out of sync with mainstream America ;)

(Now, if they asked non-fiction I'd be in real trouble!)

7:58 PM  
Anonymous kr said...

ooh!

I also refuse to give up my complete set of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

That's a winner at least :)!!

8:00 PM  
Blogger K-Lyn said...

My own book disqualifies me in the text...

"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."

- Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

8:07 PM  
Blogger Jade said...

JK Rowling/Stephen King/William Gibson/Tolkien = living in fantasyland.

Jack London = tree hugging animal rights activist

11:42 PM  
Blogger Neel Mehta said...

Interesting topic. Wish I'd thought of it.

The answer to the question "Candidate, what is your favorite novel?" should never, ever be The Bible. That's not a novel! It's, like, the gospel. It's practically scripture.

Sci-fi isn't the worst idea. Something from Clarke or Bradbury or Asimov might suffice. Nothing from Hubbard, though; what was Romney thinking? The Mormon thing is weird enough.

I think fantasy invites more problems. Tolkien's trendy, but do you really want the geek press to test your knowledge?

The safe bets, at least for the male candidates, are Steinbeck and Hemingway. Bill Richardson could get away with, say, Marquez if he could argue its cultural influence. Obama would have an uphill battle by choosing, say, Ralph Ellison.

Also, I'd steer clear of the female author. Men who pick them look like mama's boys; women who pick them come across as feminazis. Though they could get away with George Eliot...

P.S. I think it would be funny if Barack Obama answered, "Oh, definitely It Takes A Village. What? That was non-fiction?"

1:00 AM  
Blogger Quinn said...

KR: Little House is a winner. Self-reliant American dream, baby!

N: Marquez is too sexy. Bill Richardson the perv.

I would be tempted to say Dos Passos USA Trilogy. I get points for patriotism, and it's obscure enough that nobody really knows what it's about.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would pick "All the Kings men"...I love the idea if I became president I would be all powerful and could do whatever I want...Ok maybe not the best choice, but it has seemed to work for G.W. ok:)


ej

p.s. good answers...

1776 (not a novel, but a good choice...biography of anyone that most people would admire...maybe a president or Churchill....not one of Nixon).

The real problem is that I think someone will call you out on the facts of your favorite book so it probably should be short with cliff notes available...

10:04 AM  
Blogger liz said...

Currently, The Wood Beyond, by Reginald Hill. Too anti-war.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

I would one-up "The Bible" response and pick just one book...but which one? Luke? (Too much emphasis on pacifism and social justice.) James? (Too short, makes me look like a lightweight.) Actually right now I'm really into Sirach, out of the Apocrypha. (Too heretical.)

Other books: Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie: too foreign, too pro-Muslim. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver: Evangelicals don't come off so well. I'm having trouble thinking of other books because usually I can go look at my bookshelf and say, "Oh yeah, I loved that one," but right now they're all in boxes...some in your guestroom, LOL.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Quinn said...

Ken Jennings (of Jeopardy, and Mormon, fame) has some great advice about this very question. Worth a stop-over. Neel, you were right on the money.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Quinn said...

Oh, and Andy, having recently read The Poisonwood Bible, I'd say that Evangelicals come off a hell of a lot better than US foreign policy.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Neel Mehta said...

I was just about to post about Ken Jennings. Freaky. Three possibilities:

1. Great minds... yeah, right.
2. Sheer coincidence.
3. Ken reads our blogs.

You know, my Sitemeter often lists someone from Seattle leaving my blog and going to yours, or vice versa, but I always assumed it was Julie.

A distinct possibility, if he checks on who links to him, or if he's ever done a search for "Where are the Mormons?"

3:35 AM  
Blogger Quinn said...

Alas, I'm barely on the first page of the "where are the mormons" search. (The old blog, I'm sure, would have been dead square at the top!)

9:07 AM  

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