Louis Bayard

Louis Bayard
Washington, DC,
November 30
Staff writer
Born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia


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Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 24, 2008 10:01AM

Leon the Lion

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I want to be Leon Wieseltier.  No, let me revise that.  If I were to wake up tomorrow and realize I was Leon Wieseltier, I might have to kill myself.

The literary editor and Washington diarist for The New Republic has everything it takes to be The Belletrist of Our Times: big honkin' words and a big freakin' ego. 

Whenever I'm feeling particularly brave, I dip my toe into the bombastic backwash of Wieseltier's prose -- just to see if I'm still standing at the end.  But the grandiosity of his recent Obama endorsement took even me by surprise.   The following lines, I'm afraid, are a direct quote:

I have never voted happily in a general election. In the 1980s I envied my conservative friends who drew the curtain of the voting booth over an epiphany, whereas I groaned beneath my philosophical complexity when I voted for Reagan; and when I voted for Clinton a decade later, it was not without an exertion of casuistry about the distinction between supportable and admirable. I have not yet been asked for my vote by a candidate who represents the entirety of my convictions. I am not dismayed by this. Politics should not provide the most complete or the most profound of life's satisfactions. Voting is not an expression of the soul.

Thanks for clearing that up. 

It only gets better from there -- which is to say worse.  Read at your peril.  And on November 4, if you hear any groans in the voting booth next to yours ... that's just Leon bein' crushed by his philosophical complexity.  Don't pay it no never mind. 



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