According to the Telegraph, Obama’s favourite books include Moby Dick, Shakespeare’s tragedies and Gilead by Marilynnne Robinson (a Pulitzer winner), while Mitt Romney plumps for Battlefield Earth by L Ron Hubbard (con man and founder of Scientology), and works by Bill Bryson and George Bush.
You can see where we’re going with this one, can’t you? Brilliant intellectual against downmarket plutocrat.
The Telegraph writers kindly say “Obama does not specify a particular Shakespeare tragedy” – which decodes itself in my mind as “because he can’t name more than one without a teleprompter and probably hasn’t read any of them”.
Given that Obama’s supposed brilliance has yet to reveal itself in either foreign policy or domestic economics (and his academic achievements remain sealed from view lest their incandescence blind the rest of us) I’m inclined to think his list is a bit of a fraud.
Romney’s list looks more authentic. If he doesn’t care about liberal smartypants intellectuals laughing at Battlefield Earth and Bill Bryson, then he goes up in my estimation.
I have no idea if Battlefield Earth is a big pile of tosh or not, but it’s worth bearing in mind that Hubbard was for many years an extremely successful sci-fi writer before he came up with the idea of Dianetics and Scientology.
Obama and Hubbard, on the other hand, share some characteristics: Hubbard was a fraud and so is Obama; Hubbard was brilliant at making things up and so is Obama; Hubbard lived in a universe parallel to that of everyone else, just as Obama does; Hubbard was surrounded by sycophants who were willing to cover up every misdeed he committed, just as Obama is.
Moby Dick is a damn good book, though.