Axis of Logic
Finding Clarity in the 21st Century Mediaplex

Book and Movie Reviews
The only person who is not to blame is Me
By Paul Richard Harris, Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
Monday, Oct 30, 2017

I spent a couple of days over the weekend in Toronto. It's the place of my birth and where I lived to the age of 25; I still like to visit. It's a darn nice city.

Although I don't usually do this, I took the train. Toronto traffic can be brutal and since I was headed to a place right across the street from Toronto's Union Station, I thought I'd save myself the aggravation of the drive.

A train ride is a nice way to spend a couple of leisurely hours reading a book. This time I was in the middle of a book on my iPad so I took that along. What I didn't do, since planning doesn't seem to be my strong suit, was to take along the charger for the iPad and its vaunted long battery life was on life support. But - as luck (or bad Karma) would have it, some earlier passenger had left behind a book. I knew I could turn it in to the ticket counter when I got to Toronto - and I did - but first I did something really stupid: I read it.

What made it stupid for me to read this book is that I knew from instinct that it would be unmitigated trash. And I wasn't disappointed - it IS unmitigated trash. If there is any saving grace it's that years ago I taught myself how to speed read because the education I was pursuing involved a HUGE (or YUGE, as Donald Trump would say) amount of reading. So gratefully I was able to breeze through this piece of crap in under two hours. But that's two hours of my life that I'll never get back and that I'll always regret.

The book is called 'What Happened' and it was written (or ghosted) by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Perhaps you've heard of her. But in case you haven't, let me tell you a bit about her (a bit is all most people can stomach) and what this book was all about.

Apparently she is married to some guy who used to be a President of the United States (I've capitalized all of that because this is, so I'm told, a prestigious honour). And a couple of times she got it into her head that President of the United States seemed like a good gig and she would be a shoo-in for it because - well, just because. Twice she tried, and twice she blew it.

Writer Sam Kriss (Huffington Post) has this to say about Clinton's book:
... I can’t entirely agree with the chorus of people who rushed to condemn What Happened, Hillary Clinton’s “intimate view” of what it was like to go up against Trump in the 2016 election. On the left, a quick consensus formed: Clinton lost; she has nothing useful to say anymore and never did; she needs to shut up and go away immediately. It’s not really so clear. Hers is a strange story in an increasingly strange world. It’s one that needs telling. And as her die-hard defenders proclaimed, Clinton can write a book if she wants, and nobody gets to stop her. They’re not wrong. She has every right to write a book about the election. But not this book. Nobody should ever be allowed to write a book like this.


She’s not trying to be honest or readable; Clinton is still desperate for you to support her campaign. Everything she writes feels metallic in the mouth, weightless and inauthentic. She starts her book with a record of what she felt watching Trump’s inauguration. “Deep breath. Feel the air fill my lungs. This is the right thing to do. … I’m imagining I’m anywhere but here, Bali maybe? Bali would be good.” This is not how a 69-year-old woman writes. It’s an imitation of how some of her fans write, a sterile, chatty facsimile of a first-person blog. She wants, still, to be relatable.
Kriss also comments on the literary style to hint, without directly saying so, that the book has no style. The closest comparison I can think of is those dreadful 'fill-in-a-character-name' novels published by Harlequin Romances (I read a ton of those teaching myself to speed read - reading is a lot easier when there is no plot and dialogue that reads like Stephen Hawking speaks - no offense is intended to Prof. Hawking).
In any event, if I had read Kriss's article before I found the book, I would have known to stick it under the seat where some other unsuspecting sap could find it, and simply stared out the window watching the scenery go by, counting telephone poles or something.

So, for the record, I have not read any other of Clinton's books and now I know I never will. This book was full of whiny complaints about how unfairly she was treated but just about everyone you could imagine.

But there is one thing I did come to understand - this comes through clearly. Clinton has one of two faults (or perhaps both): she is either so dumb that she can't see that this defeat (and the other one) was entirely her own doing; or she's an inveterate liar. Even someone with a modicum of intelligence can see why she does not appeal to a vast number of voters and why Donald Trump (and Barack Obama) did. Her task in both of those losing campaigns was to offer voters good reasons to forget about their dislike of her and choose her as the better option. She failed both times out - but the blame is always pinned on someone else.

So while I accept the reasoning in Mr Kriss's article, I too believe Clinton "has nothing useful to say anymore and never did; she needs to shut up and go away immediately."

If you happen to owe a gift to someone you don't particularly like, this book would be a good choice.

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