The (former) president's reading lesson

Jocelyn Limpert jocelyn.limpert at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 23 15:28:07 UTC 2009

People did comment -- and the film clip was shown numerous times, with
people like me wondering what on earth was going through his mind and why he
was not reacting and immediately excusing himself (no one had to know what
was wrong, just that he had to excuse himself for a moment and tend to
presidential "business"! The TV coverage was 24/7 and this was a part of it
-- remember there were lots of hours to fill and keep repeating everything
over and over and over.

Also memorable was watching the Cabinet meeting, shown fewer times, where
Bush was supposedly "presiding" as president, but was caught live on TV
shown slinking down in his chair after he though it was over and he was off
camera -- looking like a little kid who had just had to make a speech in
front of his class and didn't know how to do it -- and he didn't. He was
very unpresidential, the "leader" of our country. That was before he got
"tough" and got us into Iraq. A wonderful story, isn't it?

On Sun, Aug 23, 2009 at 9:44 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: The (former) president's reading lesson
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I too was appalled when I saw that scene on live -- or at least
> reasonably contemporaneous -- television.  What shocked me then is
> that no-one commented on it at the time (to my knowledge).
> My impression is that Moore does not comment either, but simply lets
> it run.  However, the effect of his silence is much different.
> Joel
> At 8/23/2009 01:44 AM, Dennis Baron wrote:
> >President Obama's health-care initiative may be visionary, but his
> >faith in the Bush administration's "No Child Left Behind" program,
> >with its emphasis on standardized testing, prompts me to reprise on
> >the Web of Language this 2004 essay that first appeared in Education
> >Week.
> >
> >One scene in Michael Moore's 2004 documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" keeps
> >playing in my head: George Bush placidly following along as second-
> >graders from Florida read a story called "The Pet Goat." Off camera,
> >in New York and Washington, planes are crashing into buildings. "The
> >Pet Goat" is far from riveting, yet it keeps the president in his seat
> >as the most devastating terrorist attack in the nation's history
> >unfolds. . . .
> >
> >read the rest of this post, updated and illustrated, on the Web of
> >Language:
> >____________________
> >Dennis Baron
> >Professor of English and Linguistics
> >Department of English
> >University of Illinois
> >608 S. Wright St.
> >Urbana, IL 61801
> >
> >office: 217-244-0568
> >fax: 217-333-4321
> >
> >
> >
> >read the Web of Language:
> >
> >
> >------------------------------------------------------------
> >The American Dialect Society -
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> The American Dialect Society -

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