Friday, March 13, 2009


Originally uploaded by suttonhoo
[Niebuhr] is one of my favorite philosophers. I take away [from his works] the compelling idea that there's serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn't use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction.

Blurb by Senator Barack Obama on the back jacket of the recently reissued The Irony of American History by Reinhold Niebuhr as cited in the New York Review of Books.

Obama's blurb is unremarkable: It colors carefully within the lines with a moral prescription that the writer is advocating for us, that he wants us to believe he adheres to himself. "One of my favorites" gushes like a schoolgirl claiming a BFF (or more accurately, a BPhF) and doesn't go anywhere interesting or insightful from there. It doesn't say anything about Niebuhr that we all haven't already agreed Niebuhr is all about.

Obama's blurb is all about Obama.

"Look at me: I read Niebuhr. You should too."

That, of course, is why I'm posting it. Because I'm still in the honeymoon stage; still picking out things that I love about my dreamy new boyfriend. I love discovering that my president reads Niebuhr. (*You* love Niebuhr? *I* love Niebuhr!!!)

And speaking of Niebuhr (because I read Niebuhr: do you read Niebuhr? Did you know *Barack Obama* reads Niebuhr? OMG BFF!): Speaking of Faith ran a great panel on Niebuhr not too long ago »

Posting by cameraphone enroute to Austin.

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