The nugget. (Sisters, Or.) 1994-current, March 01, 2017, Page 6, Image 6

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017 The Nugget Newspaper, Sisters, Oregon
The Bunkhouse
Craig Rullman
The Emperor
has no books
Multiple news outlets
have reported that President
Donald Trump does not
read books. If these reports
can be believed, which is a
large-style “if” these days,
His Excellency eschews the
written word altogether, pre-
ferring, one supposes, the
background noise of flatter-
ing network coverage and
the occasional furtive glance
at his “so-elegant” self in a
gilded mirror.
True or not — and with a
nod to the embarrassing lack
of articulation demonstrated
by Monsieur Trump thus far
— I’m going believe it.
This is very bad news
for all of us. I don’t expect
the President to be a zeal-
ous adherent to Clifton
Fadiman’s Lifetime Reading
Plan, or to have memorized
long passages of Proust,
but I would be greatly com-
forted if I thought that,
between issuing executive
orders and glad-handing
billionaires, he was tucking
into Kurt Vonnegut, Cormac
McCarthy, or John Keegan
— a nice mix of authors
that would, perhaps, greatly
enrich his thinking.
If I were a scientist I
would be hard at work
attempting to prove a work-
ing hypothesis I’ve devel-
oped — that the number of
books existing and/or read
in a household is inversely
proportional to the nitwittery
that emanates from its
inhabitants. Which is not
to say that devoted readers
are incapable of flamboy-
ant stupidity. We just know
that isn’t true, but still, my
spidey-senses tell me there
is something in the theory
worth investigating.
In a former profession, I
went inside a lot of houses.
And all kinds of houses:
crack houses, whorehouses,
homes for rich people,
extravagant mansions for
really rich people, cock-
roach-infested hovels for
poor people, and all manner
of shacks for really, really
poor people. Sometimes we
even went into the homes
of middle-class folks, but
usually only because little
Johnny got caught with a
bag of weed in his backpack,
or because little Sally forgot
her upbringing and boosted
a pair of ballerina jeggings
from Old Navy.
There were almost never
any books. No bookshelves,
even. There were always
video-game consoles, and
oftentimes, even in subsi-
dized city housing where the
inhabitants were illegally
subleasing rooms, there
was somehow a Cadillac
Escalade in the driveway
and a 60-inch flat screen
in the living room. But no
books. Not even a worn out
edition of “The Cat in the
Hat.” Nothing.
This was almost uni-
versally true, though in the
interest of transparency I
must mention the sad case
of a notorious hoarder,
who was actually crushed
to death by his books. We
discovered him much too
late under a six-foot land-
slide of leatherbound clas-
sics and fading National
Geographics. He was, tragi-
cally, DRT, which is cop-
speak for Dead Right There.
But the Emperor of
America has no books.
We could, for historical
interest, compare Mr. Trump
to another outlandishly
vain and populist president,
Teddy Roosevelt. The 26th
president was a voracious
reader, and is purported to
have read a book before
breakfast, and perhaps as
many as three in the evening.
No doubt it was, in no small
part, his deep and lifelong
readings that made him such
a formidable leader of peo-
ples. Books can do that. The
founder of the Bull Moose
Party estimated that he had
read tens of thousands of
books in his lifetime, and
the library at Sagamore Hill
was jam-packed with tomes
across a broad spectrum of
Somehow, I believe the
Office of the President is
better served by chief execu-
tives who read.
I don’t dislike Donald
Trump. I don’t have the time
or the energy to spend hating
the guy. Mostly, I find him
disturbing and amusing, the
same way I found Joe Biden
disturbing and amusing.
Both of them belong to that
creepy eccentric class, the
world of fabulously wealthy
and pandering dolts, and are
mostly ridiculous caricatures
of American statesmanship.
But I sincerely wish that
Trump would read books.
If he were to call the ranch
phone I could recommend
some good ones. I’d even
send him a box-full, free of
charge, with a McGuffey
Reader on top.
Books have a way of
elevating us “onto the adult
plateau” as Mark Moskowitz
says in his fabulous docu-
mentary “Stone Reader.” In
that film, Moskowitz goes
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to extraordinary lengths
to find the author of his
favorite book, “The Stones
of Summer,” which revo-
lutionized his thinking
about life. A good book can
explode our world, as it did
for Moskowitz, and actu-
ally make us better human
Even my granddad, a
hard-bitten, hard-drinking
World War II Marine who
spent his life chasing cows
around the American out-
back, read books. A lot of
them, and toward the end he
was reading Agatha Christie
because, he said, “It keeps
my bean in good shape.”
Roosevelt, naturally,
came up with a list of rules
for readers. Here is Number
6: “Books are almost as
individual as friends. There
is no earthly use in laying
down general laws about
them. Some meet the needs
of one person, and some of
another; and each person
should beware of the book-
lover’s besetting sin, of
what Mr. Edgar Allan Poe
calls ‘the mad pride of intel-
lectuality,’ taking the shape
of arrogant pity for the man
who does not like the same
kind of books.”
The hero of San Juan
Hill reminds us not to be
arrogant about the kinds
of books we read, which is
an important thing. But it
also assumes, as an obvi-
ous matter, that people are
I wonder what Roosevelt
would make of a presi-
dent, or a nation that could
elect him, that doesn’t read
at all?
Smit2 named
second team
By Rongi Yost
Senior Amanda Smith
was selected second-team
all-league and was the lone
player on the girls basket-
ball team to earn all-league
recognition. Smith finished
league with 158 rebounds, 48
blocks, and shot 33 percent
from the field.
Coach Alan Von Stein
said, “Amanda was always
looking for scoring oppor-
tunities. She was willing to
post up and if not open, re-
post in both the high and low
positions. She also developed
into quite a shot-blocker,
especially as the season pro-
gressed. She was an amazing
leader and rock for the team.
She was great with all of her
teammates and always played
her role on the team in a very
mature way.”
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Construction of the
roundabout at the
intersection of US 20 and
Barclay Drive/McKinney
Butte Rd. is underway.
In order to complete the
Barclay side of the roundabout,
Barclay Drive is closed for an
approximate 4-5 week period.
The majority of work will occur Monday
through Saturday during daytime hours.
Traffi c on US 20 will remain open, and
work will not provide signifi cant delays
for traffi c except for the detour of Barclay
Drive. Travelers trying to access Barclay
Drive should follow signed detour routes
using Pine Street. Additional information
about closures and detours will be
posted when applicable.