Sarah Vowell on McSweeney’s

Catching up with McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, I see that they have a fresh essay by Sarah Vowell, written as the forward to Nick Hornby’s latest book. It is an extended complaint about all the books we don’t have time to read, and it is, of course, excellent. One highlight is a brief detour into the question of what the World Cup is, and whether it might be as compelling as a certain other televisual time-suck:

In that column, collected herein, [Hornby] confesses that he didn’t read a book at all because something called “the World Cup” was on TV. I’m not entirely sure what that is, as I do not live in the world; I live in the United States. But from what I can tell, he didn’t crack a book because this World Cup thing was as all-consuming a free-time eater-upper as the DVDs of the first three seasons of Battlestar Galactica were to me. Not that I’m convinced that this Ukraine v. Tunisia rivalry he describes has the depth of feeling and moral ambiguity so dramatically summoned by the space humans’ ongoing war with the Cylons the humans themselves created, but then again what does?

Sarah Vowell on John McCain

Photo by tammylo.

Best New York Times op-ed ever: Sarah Vowell turns her wry historical perspective on the Republican presidential ticket.

Senator McCain has been both lauded and derided as a “gambler” for choosing the obscure governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, as his running mate. That’s nothing compared to the sucker bet the American people are forced to make every four years. For instance, who knew that Herbert Hoover, who had been such a heroic do-gooder for the Belgians during their food crisis of 1914, would turn out to be a president blatantly blasé about Americans who were starving during the Great Depression? And what was it like to turn on the radio in Kansas City on Aug. 6, 1945, to hear the news about Hiroshima and realize that the commander in chief who gave the order to unleash the most terrifying weapon in the history of the world was the guy who used to sell you your hats? Follow-up: How did Harry Truman draw on his executive experience as the proprietor of a haberdashery to decide whether to vaporize a town?