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May 28, 2008

George The Famous

By: Bernard Chazelle

When I was 10 or so, a man named Lucien Leger kidnapped a boy of my age. His body was found dead and mutilated a few days later in the same park where I used to play with my friends. None of us knew anyone involved but, needless to say, we were quite shaken. But here is what struck me the most. When Mr Leger was caught, he was asked: "Why did you do it?" He replied: "To be famous."

Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan tells us in his memoirs:

In Iraq, McClellan added, Bush saw "his opportunity to create a legacy of greatness," something McClellan said Bush has said he believes is only available to wartime presidents.

— Bernard Chazelle

ADDED BY JON: I see Lucien Leger is still in the news. You can even watch a webcast featuring him at a hearing. Ever since the arrival of the internet, there is no such thing as "lost in the mists of time."

Posted at May 28, 2008 05:52 PM

Someone once said (I don’t recall who) that humans only want two things – power and immorality. I don’t know if I agree with that but it is difficult to argue with the pyramid of Giza. Having said that I really dislike people like McClellan who crawl out from under rocks like cockroaches to tell us things after the fact, after the damage is done. How nice that McClellan will profit from the death of over one million Iraq people. A real hero.

Posted by: Rob Payne at May 28, 2008 06:29 PM

Ah, another willing witness for the trial. Now, if only WE would IMPEACH! 1-202-225-0100

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 28, 2008 06:53 PM

Rob: you meant "immortality"? Or both?

Jon: The name still gives me the creeps.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at May 28, 2008 07:21 PM

Bernard, whoops I meant immortality not immorality, my bad. On the other hand immorality works too.

Posted by: Rob Payne at May 28, 2008 07:29 PM

We've known this forever. See

Posted by: Jay Gold at May 28, 2008 09:28 PM

We've known this forever. See

Posted by: Jay Gold at May 28, 2008 09:29 PM

So I finally watched Taxi Driver, apparently based on the real-life wannabe assassin of George Wallace, Arthur Bremer, whose main motive in assassinating Wallace (his second choice - his first choice was Nixon) was that in so doing he would garner notoriety. Although it may seem a bit prosh to do so, I'd say a fair portion of the blame for this kind of pathology lies with our alienation from each other in modern society. When only the spectacle exists as real, when interactions with other people are fragmentary and brief, it's unsurprising that some people are driven by desperation to become part of the spectacle themselves - to elevate themselves enough that they might briefly be visible to someone else, in the only way they can be any more.

Is this the same thing driving George Bush? I'm not so sure... It must be a different kind of illness - megalomania doesn't seem like it's a disease of the Lucien Legers of the world.

Posted by: saurabh at May 29, 2008 04:47 PM