How books are like politicians

It’s a presidential election year and I love following politics so it’s super fun right now for me.  One of my favorite lines from Republicans right now is, “He’s the most divisive president, ever”.  That might actually be true, but the next question is, “Why?”.

You see I don’t think President Obama actually does anything to incite divisiveness (aside from trying to do what he campaigned on doing, like the Affordable Care Act), so people’s love/hate relationship with him has less to do with him and more to do with the people calling him “divisive”.

The metaphor I stumbled on is that books are like politicians (and vice versa).  To explain, The Twilight Saga and Fifty Shades of Grey could be called the most divisive books in history!  People who hate these books, HATE THESE BOOKS!  The haters have really good reasons and state them whenever the books are brought up.  They describe the books are “poorly written”, “poorly plotted”, “bad character development”, or will go with just plain stupid.  They’ll criticize the vampires or the bondage.  They’ve got tons of reasons.

However, very few of the people you meet (that have these opinions) have actually read the books.  They’re generally repeating what others have said.  Or, repeating what people they trust have said about the books.

Sound familiar?

People who hate President Obama have good sounding reasons, but generally they’re not really based on these people having actually looked or read anything about the president (the issue of gun control comes to mind).  And it’s not just your friends and neighbors, Niall Ferguson, who is a really smart guy, has caused an uproar (kind of) by spouting a Republican talking point about the ACA that is demonstrably false.  He’s in trouble with the blogosphere because he should have “read the books” before criticizing them.

I have read the Twilight series (a friend really loved them and so I decided to read them) and I liked them.  There I said it.  Why do I feel like I just admitted to using drugs?  I read them because I hate being a snob about things (that’s not true, but I’m trying not to be).  I also hate being uninformed.  So I read the books just like I’ll read news articles and dig deeper when something doesn’t seem to conform to reality.  I also develop trusted sources in news, I’ll read articles by certain authors and after a few times of them not distorting the truth, I take their word for most things (but reserve the right to fact-check them in the future).  This is why when I say something about a right-wing pundit or the Republican party, it’s not repeating a talking point, it’s something I’ve checked out myself.

For instance, I read an article by Michelle Malkin where she was criticizing the President (shocking) about something.  Her article had links to support her argument, which I clicked on.  If you read the supporting articles, you’ll see that they sometimes contradict the point she’s making (should have kept that article bookmarked).  Why would I trust anything she says?  Heck, why did she link to articles that say the opposite of what she’s saying?  Did she figure no one would check?

For fun I did another, same thing. So to me (and honestly this should go for most people), Michelle Malkin should not be trusted.  I “read the book”.

So the next time someone goes off on some topic, you should find out if they’ve actually “read the book”.


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