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One of the books Iím reading is V.S. Naipaulís Turn in the South. I read his India, a Million Mutinies Now last year. Neither are books that Iíd ordinarily read. But when I discover a novelist I enjoy I try their journalism and essays. Naipaul won my admiration in the latter book with his visible sympathy and transparency he gives to the places people. All the jointures are seamless. Crosby said the best singing sounds like anybody could do it. Naipaulís travel books flow along effortlessly giving the illusion that anybody could write them. The sympathy is surprising coming from someone best known as a cold egoist.

And that the sympathy never falls into sloppiness is much of what appeals to me in his books. I know there are fine folks of tender temperament. But rationalist that I am (or maybe only a wannabe) seeing compassion degenerate into mawkishness makes me flinch; in responses to the world at large, not in personal things. When I used to watch the political infotainment shows with Gordon it really pissed me off that the people whose goals I shared were mostly blatherers while many of their opponents could at least work cleanly from premises. That does give some conservatives a treat: wave the red flag and watch the left snort, lower his head and charge.

This wasnít the entry that I mean to write. So Iíll start again. But the Economist Theory of writing says never throw anything way.

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