My e-mail frequently contains promotional messages from Borders. As a constant book reader and book collector, I'm a good target for the company's advertisements. Despite my general disdain for “loyalty cards” and other affinity paraphernalia that clutter up wallets and purses, I admit that I have one for Borders. I'm certain that permits the sales department to construct a detailed profile of my preferred reading.
It appears, however, that Borders does not bother to use this information. Otherwise, how do we explain this morning's e-mail? The subject line was “Coming Soon from Conservatives Glenn Beck, Newt Gingrich & Ann Coulter.” (I knew the answer to the implied question: “unmitigated crap.” Having seen previous work by the troglodytic trio, I give this answer with great assurance.) That was enough to raise my eyebrows a couple of notches. The accompanying blurb, however, reduced me to helpless guffaws. (ROTFGMAO)
Glenn Beck brings his historical acumen and political savvy to a new interpretation of The Federalist Papers, the 18th-century collection of political essays that defined and shaped our constitution.I learned the word “acumen” back when I was about twelve. It was on one of the vocabulary-builder LP records that my father used to play over and over again during his obsessive auto-didactic phase. Never would it have occurred to me that someone would try to apply a word meaning “keenness and depth of perception” to a deranged blathermeister like Beck. (Nor did I ever think my education-obsessed father would ever lose it to the extent that he would take a fake like Beck at face value.) I wonder, though: Does Beck know that The Federalist Papers were written after the constitution was already drafted (and circulating among the states for ratification)? I agree that The Federalist Papers helped to “define and shape” the constitution by putting on the record the opinions and interpretations of those involved in its framing, but it did this after the fact. Does this imply that the constitution is a “living” document that began to evolve within days of its drafting? Surely not! In any case, we can count on Beck to reject so radical a doctrine and restrict himself to a painstaking defense of originalism (whatever that is). In his hands, I daresay it will be “original.”
Fortunately, another word I learned during my precocious vocabulary-acquisition period was “facetious.” It's going to be useful.
And there's another thing I learned. And just this morning: One of the reasons that Borders went bankrupt.