I feel like I should add "apologies to Curtis Sittenfeld," the author of American Wife
, a novel based on Laura Bush's biography. But I haven't read it, only about it. Sorry, Ms. Curt. Besides my impression of the First Lady has been more strongly shaped by Tony Kushner's Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall be Unhappy
. Here's a taste:
ANGEL: Perhaps this is the first time you have read to dead children, Mrs. Bush?
LAURA BUSH: Perhaps it is! And I have to admit, children, I'm nervous. I've never met actual dead children before. Nor actual children from Iraq. Before I met my husband I traveled all over, children, all over the world, and since we moved into the White House I have also traveled, but never to Iraq. So you are the first Iraqi children I've met and you look real sweet in your PJs. And I'm sorry you're dead, but all children love books. All children can learn to love books if you read to them. That's why I've come--to read to you, to share one of my favorite books with you, because when a parent reads to a child, or any adult reads to a child, even if that child is dead, the child will learn to love books, and that is so, so important. (To one of the children:) How did you die, darling?
So apologies to Mr. Tony.
But the inspiration for this cartoon I found in this Talk of the Town piece by Sheelah Kolhatkar in the New Yorker (accompanied by a peerless caricature of the First Lady by Tom Bachtell, one of my heroes.) FTR, Laura signed with Scribner.