Sunday, September 7, 2008

From Macbeth to T.S. Eliot (with a bit of George Will in between)

Today's George Will column reminds me why I don't read him more regularly. It argues that the question "are you better off today than you were four years ago?" is silly because not everything about the quality of life can be captured statistically. True enough, but Will should know (in fact, does know) that a lot of American politics (or politics in general) revolves around basic, measurable gauges of economic 'health'. The column opens with a quote from Shakespeare -- McCain, Will says, is, like Macbeth, in "the sear, the yellow leaf" of life -- and ends with one from T.S. Eliot. In between Will manages to work in a plug for Middlemarch, proving that even he occasionally gets something right.


El Jefe Maximo said...

Maybe I'm a shade cynical, but Mr. Will would claim the better off question is a silly one this year, wouldn't he? He's no doubt worried about the various basic measurable gauges that you allude to. Believe me, if the gauges worked in his favor, he wouldn't think them silly. Even if the measure is silly, I think the answer to the more global question is debatable in any case.

I don't read Will as much as I used to, myself. I tend to be the more Tory sort of conservative myself, but he got a bit precious for me, particularly with that book of his in the early 90's on congressional term limits, which I think is a profoundly bad idea.

LFC said...

Yes. This has not been a happy electoral cycle for Will, since he wasn't a big fan of McCain's, preferring someone like Romney.
I agree on term limits.