William Shatner’s interpretation of “She Blinded Me With Science”:

This weekend I intend to finish The Ambition and The Power, about Jim Wright’s speakership in the late ’80s. Read it on a recommendation from the estimable Jonathan Bernstein, and it’s still quite readable even if most of the figures are no longer still around. The book is at its best when describing the Reagan Administration and Reagan himself–I’ve never quite bought the liberal cartoon of Reagan as a moronic, glassy-eyed presence in the presidency, and needless to say I never bought into the right’s myth of the man either. And the whole Reagan/Tip O’Neill compromising celebration from the centrists, well, that seemed a bit incomplete as well (turns out that O’Neill generally didn’t fight Reagan on what he wanted, while Wright did). This book lays out a very plausible portrait of Reagan as someone who is palpably tired of all this shit, but is completely stubborn and ideological, willful and not really all that trustworthy, constantly playing power games and working along different tracks at the same time to accomplish his goals. Machiavellian but not terribly clever. You can sort of see why his Administration had the sorts of scandal troubles it did, given the stubbornness, impatience, and raw power exercises that Reagan displays in the book. Though, in all fairness, I doubt that any of this is unique to him, or uncommon among presidents. It’s also definitely interesting to read stories about Reagan’s being ignored in his pleas to Senate Republicans, considering how he’s perceived by the GOP today, but it makes sense: by that time Reagan was a lame duck, and those guys had their own troubles to worry about. Definitely an interesting read for people interested in politics (i.e. anyone reading this).

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  1. Metavirus says:

    I do hope you’ve listened to Shatner’s 2004 musical triumph Has Been. Hugely heavy with equal parts light self-deprecation and searing self-reflection, it was produced by Ben Folds and features a variety of big-name collaborators such as Henry Rollins. It’s just bar-none brilliant.

    E.g.:

    • Matmos says:

      Wow. Just….wow.

    • Lev says:

      I’m a fan of the album. Shatner as an actor is at his best when he has a director who tells him when to tone it down. Seems like Ben Folds kind of did that on the album, and it wound up being sincere and surprisingly poignant. But the album “Science” is off of is very much a return to the glorious ham of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and that works too.

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