October 20, 2006

"Now he looks washed, rinsed, bleached, his flat smile an awful rictus; that upper lip has lost all its lift."

That's Martin Amis describing George Bush (in a review of Bob Woodward's "State of Denial"):
Until [9/11], “US hegemony” was largely a matter of facts and figures, of graphs and pie-charts. Thereafter it became a matter of options and capabilities, of war plans cracked out on the President’s desk. We can understand the afflatus, the rush of blood, in the White House: overnight, demonstrably and palpably, a tax-cutting dry drunk from West Texas became the most powerful man in human history. One wonders, nowadays, how it goes with Bush, in his glands and sinews. Post-September 11, he had the body language of the man in the bar who isn’t going anywhere till he has had his fistfight. Now he looks washed, rinsed, bleached, his flat smile an awful rictus; that upper lip has lost all its lift.

Understand the afflatus.

5 comments:

George said...

Omit needless words...Avoid fancy words...Do not explain too much...Do not overwrite...Do not overstate...Prefer the standard to the offbeat....

The Elements of Style
E.B. White

tiggeril said...

Afflatus makes me think of Aflac. More specifically, it makes me think of Gilbert Gottfried yelling "AFFLATUS" while in the guise of a hapless duck.

Revenant said...

I'm not sure why there's any need to cook up weird explanations for why Bush looks different now. He's six years older and he's been working in a high-stress job. Presidents always look worse leaving office than they looked entering it.

amba said...

Afflatus just sounds like a fancy fart to me.

That said, there are a couple of felicitous coinages in the review -- "a yes-man's land" is good. So is Then came a dual disintegration, like that of the twin towers: the collapse of the authority of the state, and the collapse of the value of human life.

Ron said...

I see he's pushing the dry drunk meme.