I recently posted a HuffPostblog where I talked about the likelihood that George Bush didn't write the biography of his father that's being reviewed across the country.
I reminded people of Bush's strange and juvenile relationship with reading via his competition with Karl Rove to see who could read more, physically bigger books faster. Was it likely a man like that could write a book at all, let alone a book being praised for its writing style?
But I wasn't singling out Bush as the only celebrity to ever offer a book under his name when someone else had written it. I carefully made the point that celebrity books usually aren't written by the authors and that's why I avoided reviewing them back when I was a print reviewer. Based on a brilliant Robert Harris novel, The Ghost Writer is a film that cleverly satirizes the whole corrupt business and takes it into the dark world of politics.
My blog predictably unleashed anti-intellectual invective from Bush dead-enders, along with comments like "Why does it matter?" (It's possible the same thing will happen here).
So why does it matter whether he wrote the book or not? Because Bush's catastrophic war against Iraq, based on lies, may be the worst foreign policy disaster of American history. And that's just one reason his reputation is in need of an extreme makeover. Any book released with Bush's name on it is part of a publicity campaign to restore and burnish his image. If you think that's not the case, you're either extremely naive, you haven't watched Olivia Pope do her magic on Scandal -- or both.
When reviewers in the New York Times and the Washington Post participate in this campaign by writing as if the book is 100 percent his, when they commend his style, his voice, his "painterly eye," they're potentially raising his poll numbers by countering the image of Bush as not very articulate or bright.
It's a great strategy. If it works.
Lev Raphael is the author of Assault With a Deadly Lie, a novel of suspense about stalking, gun violence and militarized police, and 24 other books in many genres. Check them out at Amazon.