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Celebrity Christmas List

I'm starting early on my Christmas gift list this year. So far, I have gift ideas for George W. Bush and Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI:

George Bush: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Since the President self-admittedly doesn't read much, except for The Very Hungry Caterpillar, there's also a How to Win Friends and Influence People companion mini-book, a quick reference guide of the larger work's main points, which is only available at Dale Carnegie seminars.

Pope Benedict XVI: Nothing but the best canonical quotation reference, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, will do justice to the Pope's penchant for quoting obscure, medieval Byzantine emperors and others who have eloquently insulted non-Christian religions throughout history. Seriously, folks -- if you're willing to go to the trouble of quoting statements that you later claim not to believe or sympathize with whatsoever because they're uncentral to the theme of your speech, you might as well do it with style, scholarship, and finesse!

Note: after reading the transcript of the Pope's speech, the controversial quote was off the cuff, and not central to the main theme. If you want to read the speech and decide for yourself, see here. I really don't think it was necessary to include such a quote, unless there was some intention to make a jab at Islam. One thing's for sure: Benedict XVI ain't the uniter and consensus-builder that John Paul II was. It appears the quote was used to lead into one of the speech's themes, which was the different perceptions of the nature of God embraced by Christianity and Islam, the will of God, and influences Greek culture may have had on Christian thinking. The extreme furor over the Pope's remarks seem unjustified, as if many of the protesters have not read or understood the context in which the quotation was made, and have instead latched onto a sound bite; such are the risks of popular opinion in an information-restrictive society.

:: Bryan Travis :: 09/21/2006 @ 11:31 :: [link] ::