Thursday, January 7, 2021

the last book I ever read (Anne Applebaum's Twilight of Democracy, excerpt six)

from Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism by Anne Applebaum:

Johnson—born in the United States like me, and very attuned to American ideas—also flourished in that somewhat sleepy, eccentric world. Indeed, he was one of its real stars, capable of finding something amusing to say about a dull European summit one day and of entertaining an audience on a TV quiz program the next. But at some point, both of us began to look for other things o do. I moved back to Poland in 1997 and started writing history books; he ran for Parliament. Later, he became mayor of London, but he got bored there too. In 2013 he told an interviewer that the mayor’s office felt far away from the House of Commons, the place where real things happened: “I’m so isolated, I’m like Colonel Kurtz. I’ve gone upriver,” he said, before hastily assuring the interviewer that that was the only thing he had in common with the psychopathic hero of Apocalypse Now. In the same interview he repeated a rugby metaphor that he had used before. As always, Johnson said that he wasn’t actively trying to take over his party’s leadership—but “if the ball came loose in the scrum” he wouldn’t mind picking it up.

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