Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rajiv's fetish

For those who keep track of my "Now Reading" list on the right, perhaps you have noticed my listening via my iPod of Rajiv Chandrasekaran's Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone.

Rajiv is from San Francisco, went to Stanford, and is an Assistant Managing Editor for the Washington Post. So, you know his world view and need to know that skew prior to reading his work. That is ok, everyone has their own bias and prism that they see the world through that adjusts how they see things - that is part of being human.

All that being said, he is a good writer and his book is a valuable source, as it is well written, sourced, and he was there. Funny thing though is how when listened to you get a certain view of his 'lil demons in a way you might not if you read the book.

Over and over, at least in the 1/3 of the way through it I am at - you hear Haliburton and Neo-con over, and over, and over. I'll will give him a pass on his Republican cabalesque chanting, as I fully expected that "..oooo look at what the zoo animals are doing" POV given his background and seeing a few interviews with him, but it gets a little silly after awhile. We get it Rajiv; R-e-p-u-b-l-i-c-a-n-s baaaaaddddd - Democrats, gooooooood. There is also a little smugness in his book that is off-putting, but then again - he went to Stanford and we didn't.

There was one other thing that either he or his narrator's director did for the audio book that had me chuckling after about an hour or so. Being a standard issue Bi-coastal type, it seems that every military, uneducated, or slightly nefarious character in his book is given a Southern accent, and a badly done one at that.

I will grant you that because the Northeast and California elite have abandoned serving their nation in the armed services have left on a percentage basis of population that military mostly Southern and Western - this "great other" thread reflected in the narration is just juvenile after awhile. That and the fact that Iraqi, Indians, and Pakistanis all have the same quasi-South Asian accent that is just inside the PC/non-PC divider.

Good book so far though - I don't just read what is on my side of the fence. It is a nice reminder that we are not an Empire simply because our heart isn't in it. Read or listen to the book and you will know what I mean.

I also am looking for Rajiv's "Hey the surge is working and we should have been more patient as things are working out" column, but I won't hold my breath.

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