“Leveling Wind, The” by George F. Will

The Leveling Wind: Politics, the Culture, and Other News
by George F. Will

This book of essays, George Will’s fifth, is wonderfully entertaining. I admit it took a hundred pages or so to warm up to his style (or perhaps tune in to his frequency) but I’m glad I stuck around for the full 447 pages. Will is well-read, as evidenced by his many references sprinkled throughout the book. He is also a sound thinker. But, if you don’t recognize his wit, you’ve missed the best part. Here are some of the essay titles:

  • “Well, Then, How Many Hispanics Should There Be in Thoracic Surgery?”
  • “The Veep and the Blatherskite” (I don’t know what it means, but it made me smile.)
  • “Election, Not Canonization”

There is always at least one central truth around which Will wraps his entertaining prose. In one essay he says:

“… like most of what goes on in Congress, the argument had nothing to do with any idea other than this one: Any program with a constituency should be preserved.”

Occasionally he writes something silly, in a Bob Newhart sort of way:

“The world, a wit has said, is divided into two kinds of people, those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who do not.”

Other humorous moments occur when he recounts the stories of others.

“… remember the story of White Sox manager Jeff Torborg’s trip to the mound to remove pitcher Jim Kern. Kern told Torborg he wasn’t tired. Torberg said, ‘I know, Jim, but the outfielders are.'”

There are also a couple book reviews, an address to the Reagan Forum, a commencement address at the College of William and Mary and another at Duke University where he said, “Elitism — meaning a disproportionate role in government and society by small groups — is inevitable. The question for any society is not whether elites shall rule, but which elites shall rule.”

© Copyright 1995, 2008, Clancy Cross.  All rights reserved.

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The Leveling Wind: Politics, the Culture, and Other News

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