Alex P. Keaton, 2012

When I was a kid watching Family Ties, Alex P. Keaton was my hero. I wanted to be Alex when I grew up. I wanted to be a republican. This was no more a decision based on political belief than my 80s-era hatred of Communism, but, nevertheless, it’s interesting to look back and see how much that TV show did shape my malleable child’s opinion at the time. Alex was ambitious, an over-achiever and smart. I wanted to be like that. But the latter bit, being smart, in some way negates Alex’s current ability to participate in the GOP. Intellect has become a dirty word, and those with knowledge a dangerous commodity. It is as if, somewhere in the 90s, poor Alex was subsumed by Forrest Gump as the lovable embodiment of conservatism. Sure, Forrest comes off like an open minded fellow, but at the end of the day he is told.

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The Politics of Reading

So, I’m reading this book. And I’m pretty much liking the thing. As I’m wont to do, I search the author (I found this particular book through it being mentioned in some interview or other), because I’m starting to get intrigued about the other books he’s written, etc. I find out the writer is a right-wing radio show host.

Now, usually, I don’t let a writer’s personal attributes sway how I feel about the writing. I’ve gotten pretty good at this, I think. But now I’m feeling wonky about this book that I was liking. I’ve listened to some right-wing radio and it really turns me off. But there hasn’t been anything alarming so far in the book… beside a religious character (who I’ve been slightly frightened of dominating too much of the narrative). Now I’m thinking “Oh, man, what am I in for?” instead of “Oh, man, what’s going to happen next?”

Have you ever had an experience like this? Tell me to keep reading! Tell me it’ll pay off! Tell me I’m not being treated to subliminal propaganda! Or Tell me to put it down quick! My fate is in your hands!