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Inauguration fever is cresting with the inevitable flood of Obama merchandise. Here are three candidates for the worst of the lot:
In the “cute and cloying” category, there’s the “Obama, Time for a Change Baby Ultrasoft Onesie.”
In the “right-Wing Paranoia” category, the “Communist Obama BBQ Apron,” with hammer and sickle design.
Finally, in the “child exploitation” category is a new book, Hi It’s Me Zenin, Barack Obama’s Kid Neighbor. This one isn’t on the web yet–I learned about it from a press release. Reproduced verbatim:
Directly across the street from the Obama’s residence, in Hyde Park, lives Zenin Miller. Zenin is what many would call a typical 6 year old little boy Zenin loves Star Wars, Bakugans and super heroes. Actually, Zenin is anything but normal, he’s written a children’s book about what it’s like to be Obama’s neighbor – with the photos to prove it.
The book, titled “Hi It’s Me Zenin, Barack Obama’s Kid Neighbor”, that Zenin came up with on his own, describes how his daily schedule has been affected by living directly across the street from the President elect. The book includes photos Zenin took with his camera; shows what it’s like to have to drive through a security parameter just to get into his house for homework time, hanging out with Obama’s favorite waitress and his local breakfast joint, watching the Obama’s coming home to celebrate and the girls own play party, watching the street change as Barack Obama went from nominee to president elect, through the eyes of a 6 year old.
“Heartwarming interviews” with Zenin, promised the pitch, can be arranged through his publicist.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”