Sunday, August 13, 2006

Things Can Always Get More Weird

[Humor link added Monday at bottom.]

It's old news now, I suppose, that President Bush tucked into a copy of Albert Camus' The Stranger during his summer vacation. My connectivity problems have permitted me sketchy, at best, access over the past several days, but there's been enough intermittent dip-ins to get a general grasp of the reaction--or, at least, to extrapolate what it's been. My favorite? Ann Althouse's call for her visitors to "read/reread "The Stranger" today", which, had the day unfolded differently, I might have done--assuming, of course, that I could have unearthed my ancient volume, along with my copy of Exile and the Kingdom as a companion read, specifically for "The Growing Stone." My own curiosity is not so so much about why President Bush is reading Camus just now, thought that surely intrigues me, but why "The Stranger" in particular. And is it a first-read or a re-read? The president's introduction to the Camus canon or a filling-in? As the Breitbart article to which I linked indicates, Bush has certainly quoted Camus previously in a speech, but one can't make assumptions based on that.

Before I could muse much on the topic, I unexpectedly was faced with the necessity of processing 40 pounds of fresh tomatoes into sauce, or something (this happens when you go away for a long time, which naturally means that a) for the first time in a number of years, a bumper crop of tomatoes survives and b) ripens all at once and a bit earlier than previously). Between coping with that and fighting tech issues, I get back on line--we'll see how briefly and successfully--only to be confronted with this gem:

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has started a blog on his life and times (politics).
THE President of Iran has launched a web log, using his first entry to recount elements of his life story and ask visitors if they think the US and Israel want to start a new world war.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described how he was angered by US meddling in Iran even when he was at school. His origins as the son of “a hard-bitten toiler blacksmith”, may have been humble, but he excelled at school where he came 132nd out of 400,000 in exams to enter university.

Well, I'll be. You know it had to happen sooner or later. Why should world leaders be the last on the block to get into the action?

Strikingly, I had to do a search and then skim through a number of stories before I found an example of one that actually provided a link to President Ahmadinejad's blog, though I personally haven't been able to get it to load yet, despite an extended period of trying, in background. This could very well be related to my tech issues. (HEH! I'll bet Ahmadinejad doesn't have router, or whatever, problems. Or does he? What happens when he does, I wonder? And to whom?) Or perhaps his blog has already attained stunning popularity throughout the world. Or a gazillion people are trying to participate in the (stacked?) poll he reportedly included in his post: “Do you think that the US and Israeli intention and goal by attacking Lebanon is pulling the trigger for another world war?”

(By the way, the news stories indicate that the blog is available in an English version, but from what little I can tell from the "loading...loading...loading" menu bar in my browser tab, the link I include does not go to that version.)

In any case, Ahmadinejad reportedly indicates that he has some fine-tuning to do with regard to his blogging techniques:
He concludes by admitting that his opening blog, which runs to more than 2,300 words in the English version, was too long. “From now onwards, I will try to make it simpler and shorter,” he wrote.

Pithy--keep it pithy, Mahmoud, as some of the most notable bloggers always say. I must say that I find that to be a tough one myself. Good grief! Who knew that I would ever be able to say, in connection with the president of Iran, "I can relate." Yikes!

Then again, do we really believe that Ahmadinejad is actually going to sit down and post on a daily, or even regular, basis, all on and by his lonesome? Surely he's a little busy these days (and possessed of many minions, writers undoubtedly among them).

Or maybe it's just a stunt?

The mind simply boggles at the strangeness of the world and all its dancing diversions and side shows, but that not withstanding, I really must get back to the tomato sauce(s). One thing's for sure: I wish I'd reserved more of that Nice Little Red for sipping, instead of raiding it for cooking. Sometimes it's better to toast the bizarre rather than curse it.

Update: Just out of curiosity, what world leaders would you most like to see blog (this could be seriously or because you think it would be the biggest joke)? Which would get the best visitor stats? The most links? The best ones? The most and least predictable?

This could be fun.

Added, Monday: The Garlic comes up with a top-ten list of things you must know about our newest blogger. My favorite is #3, followed by #1. Yours?

Hat tip.

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