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Friday, November 12, 2010

"P" Is For "President." Also "Plagiarist."

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 3:29 PM

Is anybody really surprised by this? You are? Then you're a little dumb, aren't you?

Apparently George W. Bush's first decision when sitting down to "write" his "memoir," Decision Points, was this: I'm not going to actually sit down and "write" my "memoir," Decision Points.

Thanks to this detailed smackdown over on Huffington Post, it seems all W. handed over to his publisher was "a mash-up of worn-out anecdotes from previously published memoirs written by his subordinates, from which Bush lifts quotes word for word, passing them off as his own recollections."

He took equal license in lifting from nonfiction books about his presidency or newspaper or magazine articles from the time. Far from shedding light on how the president approached the crucial "decision points" of his presidency, the clip jobs illuminate something shallower and less surprising about Bush's character: He's too lazy to write his own memoir.

Bush, on his book tour, makes much of the fact that he largely wrote the book himself, guffawing that critics who suspected he didn't know how to read are now getting a comeuppance. Not only does Bush know how to read, it turns out, he knows how to Google, too.

Many of Bush's literary misdemeanors exemplify pedestrian sloth, but others are higher crimes against the craft of memoir. In one prime instance, Bush relates a poignant meeting between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a Tajik warlord on Karzai's Inauguration Day. It's the kind of scene that offers a glimpse of a hopeful future for the beleaguered nation. Witnessing such an exchange could color a president's outlook, could explain perhaps Bush's more optimistic outlook and give insight into his future decisions. Except Bush didn't witness it. Because he wasn't at Karzai's inauguration.

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