Casting Spells

Not sure why Booker-prize-winning novelist Ian McEwan (Amsterdam, Atonement, Saturday) was asked for his opinion on climate change policy and the new U.S. administration, but in this piece in the WSJ (8 Nov. 2008), he wrote this lovely bit:

“The contest for the presidency, like all elections, had the self-enclosed quality of a squash game, a chess match, a post-modern novel — and this one was far better than most. While the candidates appeared to address an external reality, they were bound by strictly ethereal requirements: to cast spells on large crowds while seeming ordinary, to trample their opponent into oblivion while seeming pleasant, to be inspirational yet sensible, to avoid offending a score of sensitive constituencies, and, an old wizard’s touch, to promise the electorate various gifts without further borrowing or raising taxes. …

btw, McEwan argues that Obama must act decisively on climate change, taking advantage of the “unearthly powers” now attributed to him.


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