Romney's favorite novel

Mitt Romney says his favorite novel of all time is Battlefield Earth. At first I thought, Of course, but then I thought, Oh, wrong crazy religion. Crap lousy presidential candidate?

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If he does become President, I hope he learned how to gain proper leverage. That could be useful.

New York Anthony | Tue, 05/01/2007 - 8:41am

I don't understand how he's getting so much money. Maybe he's just the best of a bad lot in Republican donors' eyes?

Lorelei | Tue, 05/01/2007 - 9:24am

I have one word for you, Lorelei: tithing.

Alina | Tue, 05/01/2007 - 10:08am

Very funny! A cult member prefers a different cult's leader's fiction.

I don't know much about Romney nor have I read Battlefield Earth, but he seems a business type not an arty type, so I am not surprised that he picked what I imagine to be a light pop work as his favorite novel.

I wonder if he would tell a Mormon his favorite book is the Book of Mormon rather than the Bible.

The Rodenator | Tue, 05/01/2007 - 10:58am

I thought the Book of Mormon was like another volume of the Bible -- the New New Testament?

Alina | Tue, 05/01/2007 - 11:31am

If battlefield earth is anything like mission earth (hubbard's last, a rambling multi-novel sci-fi piece of wooden crap) this may be the worst-read presidential candidate ever. And take in mind Bush was once a presidential candidate.

Jon May | Tue, 05/01/2007 - 3:29pm

wiki says: In 1982, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints added the subtitle Another Testament of Jesus Christ to its editions of the book to help clarify and emphasize its purpose. convince the christians they're not a cult. good luck with that.

flea | Tue, 05/01/2007 - 4:34pm

Whether Mormonism is a cult or not is up for debate, but I lean on the negative side. They don't have the common characteristics of a cult, like encouraging new members to shun their families and the reverence of a cult-like leader. (The head of the Latter Day Saints is a prophet, but he's more like a Pope than a cult leader -- that's assuming you don't want to argue that contemporary Catholicism is a cult.) Mormons who decide to leave the church do get shunned by their families, but that's a common characteristic of all religions.

However, I will say that, even if it's not a cult, it is a pretty nutty religion. Bill Maher would argue that it's no more nutty than other religions, and he's right in some sense, but c'mon, there's plenty of historical evidence that Joseph Smith was a charlatan and a con-man. And the Mormon church has engaged in things in the past (and perhaps presently) that are quite nasty. But then again, so has Catholicism.

The best reason to dislike the Mormon church is for their actions. Every time a Mormon missionary speaks to me, I tell them that I dislike their church's policy toward gays. (The church has spent millions of dollars fighting gay rights, and every tithing Mormon bears responsibility.) If other religions proselytized to me where I thought the same, I would say so. (I even tell my parents that I dislike the Catholic church's policy towards gays.) Still, I give the Catholic church a bit of a break, because 1) family bias; and 2) the decentralization of Catholicism post-Vatican-II makes them less of a voting block, like Mormons are. Still, most Catholics I know, even observant ones, are comfortable criticizing the church as an institution, especially after the priest scandal. I've never seen an observant Mormon do the same.

crazymonk | Tue, 05/01/2007 - 4:51pm

i want to argue that contemporary catholicism is a cult.

flea | Tue, 05/01/2007 - 5:53pm

Touche, but I think there's a reason to distinguish between a "religion" and a "cult." You may think they are both equally harmful, or even that the former is more dangerous than the latter, but there's still something inherently different with organizations like the Branch Davidians, the Peoples Temple, Heaven's Gate, etc. in terms of how the members in those organizations operate in society as a whole.

Maybe the problem is that we only hear about the "bad" cults -- maybe there are a bunch of "good" or harmless cults out there. The problem with most cults is that they often involve the allure of a charismatic personality rather than the allure of community that most mature religions (most of which started as cults) have.

crazymonk | Tue, 05/01/2007 - 6:43pm

besides familial isolation and deified leader, what other things separate "religion" from "cult?"

liam | Tue, 05/01/2007 - 7:18pm

Isn't it more like, the religions that we regard as religions, and not as cults, are distinguished by the fact that they've survived and grown for something on the order of a millenium or two, so that whole societies, big ones, have deep roots in these cults-turned-super-cults-now-called-religions-as-opposed-to-cults? I mean, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, they all had private access to god in ways that allegedly made them unique and therefore followable... There might be a distinction to be made that has to do with, say, belief systems of ancient nomadic tribes, systems which maybe possibly evolved more organically out of such tribes' need for certain kinds of narrative and mnemonic structures and such, on the one hand; and on the other hand, something different, the modern day cult that, given science and material abundance and such, seems a lot more like a manifestation of collective paranoia than any kind of survival mechanism or reasonable making-sense of the world.

That would make Jesus and Mohammed seem a lot like cult figures, and of course they are in certain ways, but I think that context (and political efficacy) distinguish them as leaders from, say, David Koresh. I wonder what Jesus thought when he saw the tanks roll into Waco.

Jesse | Wed, 05/02/2007 - 4:56am

Maybe there weren't any tanks involved. For some reason I thought there were tanks...

Jesse | Wed, 05/02/2007 - 5:03am

They had a battering ram that looked like a tank, I think.

Everyone should read Battlefield Earth, it's amazing. The first half, which was the basis for the movie, was your standard, somewhat crappy, aliens invade Earth and we fight back a thousand years later story. The second half, though, is what makes it unbelievable. The entire second half of the book (and this is NOT a short book) involves a convoluted intergalactic banking conspiracy!

Part 1: War with aliens.
Part 2: Banking law.

I'm not sure why he thought those two things would go together well, but it's sort of worth reading just to find out. I'm glad that I did.

I wonder which half Romney liked better.

Ingen Angiven | Wed, 05/02/2007 - 7:38am

You are ahead of the curve Crazymonk.

The Rodenator | Wed, 05/02/2007 - 4:42pm

I'm better than the average man-animal.

crazymonk | Wed, 05/02/2007 - 5:08pm

Man animal?! Blog?! Ha Ha Ha Ha!

New York Anthony | Wed, 05/02/2007 - 5:12pm

And why haven't I heard there was a Battlefield Earth music album until now?!

New York Anthony | Wed, 05/02/2007 - 5:18pm

The real question is, how can we figure out what his favorite food is?

Ingen Angiven | Wed, 05/02/2007 - 5:49pm

I am guessing jello - more specifically, orange jell-o carrot salad. Or funeral potatoes.

Alina | Wed, 05/02/2007 - 6:04pm

OK, not to change the subject, but: I'm not one who has turned overly nostalgic for the Clinton years recently, but that's a mighty fine looking list of 21 books Bill loves, whether he hired consultants to help him shape it or not. I mean, Homage to Catalonia among the favorites of a former US president? Now THERE is a man I'd like to have a beer with.

Jesse | Wed, 05/02/2007 - 7:20pm