[percy-l] Senator Bob Kerrey & The Moviegoer

marcus at loyno.edu marcus at loyno.edu
Tue Apr 22 12:39:26 EDT 2003

Brent Kendall has an article in the Washington Monthly (which I found on
Alternet.com) about the books that Presidential candidates read (or claim
to read). He has these paragraphs about Senator Bob Kerrey--who (like Binx)
may have come to himself and decided to begin a search in one of our Asian
wars.  Recall the recent disclosures by Kerrey about his involvement as a
Navy Seal in the massacres of Vietnamese civilians:    

"Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey took the opposite approach, tackling the book
question headfirst when he sought the 1992 Democratic nomination. Kerrey
readily offered that his favorite book was Walker Percy's "The Moviegoer,"
a novel that depicted the aimless existence of a soldier-turned-stockbroker
named Binx Bolling. His answer may have revealed too much. The New York
Times' Maureen Dowd pounced, claiming Kerrey's confession would worry
voters, given that Percy's work was an "anthem of alienation" about a war
veteran "out of touch with the rest of America." As The New Yorker's
Elizabeth Kolbert later put it, with 20/20 hindsight, "Here was a man
proposing himself as the next leader of the free world while apparently
identifying with a character who, to all outward appearances, seems to have
completely lost his sense of direction." Ouch. 

"Kerrey holds no grudge against the press for engaging in such
psychoanalysis. In fact, he says, there was some truth to it. His advice to
the current candidates? Be authentic, but be prepared. "If you don't want
to think about your answer ahead of time ... don't run for president.
Because it's part of what you have to do," Kerrey told me. "No candidate is
going to be successful by being themselves." 

"But at least he tried."

Marcus Smith
New Orleans

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