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May 12, 2011

Authorism: Who Wrote Dreams From My Father?

As you may or may not know, this is one conspiracy theory I can get behind.

Cashill lost credibility in my book when he moved from authorism to birtherism.

That said, I still like this theory. I didn't like it based on the authority of Jack Cashill (when I first read his articles I only vaguely knew of him); I liked it based on his evidence particularly Obama's sudden fondness for the nautical metaphors also favored by former Merchant marine Bill Ayers.

Or other oddly similar thoughts:

Identity is funny being yourself is funny as you are never yourself to yourself except as you remember yourself and then of course you do not believe yourself you do not really believe yourself why should you, you know so well so very well that it is not yourself.



Now it could not be yourself because you cannot remember right and if you do remember right it does not sound right and of course it does not sound right because it is not right. You are of course never yourself.

Now which one is Ayers and which is Obama? Well technically it's Obama, then Ayers, but maybe it's just Ayers twice. Hey, if you're being paid not a great deal of money to substantially re-write someone's crappy book, you're probably not going to sweat making up new stuff. You're probably going to coast on previous ideas.

He also ran some standard writing analysis programs on the texts, and found that Dreams From My Father scored a 54.8 in readability at a 12th grade reading level. That was divergent from Obama's other works, but oddly close to Bill Ayers' 54.0/12th grade score for Fugitive Days.

Cashill sometimes undermines his own argument by presenting lame evidence -- like really minor parallels about stuff most political writers will mention.

So sometimes I wish he'd separate the wheat from the chaff. But the wheat itself is good.

He's done a vlog recapitulation of his major points.


Did Ayers write Obama's book? I don't think Cashill means he wrote it outright, and I doubt that's what would have happened. Obama probably paid him to edit it, organize it, sharpen it up, punch it up.

But when an editor is confronted with a real piece of shit, he will often find that it's actually easier to rewrite passages almost completely rather than merely fix what's present. Sometimes it's just easier to start from scratch.

I know this, because while on Law Review, it was always drummed in that we had to fight the urge to "lose the author's voice," that is, simply rewrite him. We had to (we were told) work with what was there, not write it from scratch.

The reason we had to have this drilled into us is that, given some shoddy and clumsy writing, it really was easier just to rewrite it from almost scratch. So that was the tendency -- the easy way -- we had to fight.

Did Ayers forget to keep the author's voice and just start rewriting his dreck wholesale?

Yeah, I think probably.

Or, maybe like a tidal river in New York, the writing just flowed, upstream and then downstream, from one to the other, with authorship murky and tangled like so much jib-line on a dock...

We'll never know, of course. Ayers likes teasing conservatives by fake-"admitting" it, so he'll never spill. He hates us. And loves his protoge.

It's not a useful political line, but it's just fun to note.

Rara Avis, indeed.

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posted by Ace at 04:27 PM

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