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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What Do You Read?

I had a friend on Facebook ask me this morning how anyone - regardless of political stripe - can determine whom reads what.

Do only Leftists read Marx?

Do only people on the Right read Ayn Rand?

While considering ways to approach this topic, I was reminded of David Fincher's film Seven - particularly the scene where Morgan Freeman employs the skills of an FBI friend who can get him a list of books checked out by people in the New York area. This list is of "flagged" text like Mien Kampf, one the books on Loughner's "favorites" list from his YouTube page.

In the scene, Brad Pitt's character mentions that they could end up catching a college kid doing a research project. To me, that rang true when looking through Loughner's list. Not in so much as I thought he was trying to learn from texts by Plato, Orwell, or Marx - as he is almost certainly not interesting in the actual context of these works so much as he is searching for validation.

But the question still stands - if you walked into someone's home and glanced over at their bookshelf and saw books on Communism, books on the possible cover-up of events prior and leading up to Sept. 11th 2001, as works by Mark Twain, Ayn Rand, and Glenn Beck would you be able to determine whether or not they were aligned politically Left or Right?

Most certainly not.

What is evident from the reactions of pundit, journalists, and even the average citizen in America that is actively following the continually unfolding events surrounding Loughner is that they either have little interesting in learning about him and what transpired between his first meeting with Rep. Giffords in 2007 and his assassination attempt last Saturday, or they are wanting to know everything about those years and those prior.

As much as many on the Left are far too focused on making this simply about Palin, those on the Right are equally as - if not more - guilty of making themselves the "victims" while ignoring Loughner's motives.

It is true that books hold power, but it's a power that can be used for good or for evil. Highlighting the Communist Manifesto as proof positive that Loughner was a Leftist is pure folly without careful consideration and analysis of all the elements that surround what happened before to Loughner before he pulled the trigger.

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