High culture at its finest

February 7, 2007

While I subscribe to the Crate & Barrel catalog, I usually just read it for the articles, and barely pay attention to the pictures. Yet for some reason, my eye lingered over a couple of Crate & Barrel photographs for several minutes tonight. Lest you worry I’ve developed some sort of bizarre Dutch Oven fetish, allow your fears to be assuaged; I was simply distracted by the books in the Kingston Corner Media Stand (note: all gifts to SaladGlobalMedia are tax deductible, as are all bribes given to Dash Hammerskjold).

Though the internet advertisement displays the media stand bare, the catalog presents the stand with a full collection of books and movies. Two of the books’ titles are clearly visible: 1) Judaism (author illegible) and 2) Dragon Teeth by E. Howard Hunt— Watergate co-conspirator! Most of the other bookcases in the catalog have innocuous art/coffee table books like “Blossfeldt” or “The Academy Awards,” yet our beloved Kingston corner is outfitted with Dragon Teeth, a ludicrous book about an employee at a Washington think-tank who gets involved in an imbroglio with the Chinese, then later joins a secret group trying to ward off an attack against Taiwan (Operation Dragon Teeth), “while the bureaucrats in Washington spin their wheels and cover their backsides.” Btw, Library Journal completely whitewashes Hunt’s involvement with Watergate: “Drawing upon his insider knowledge of Washington politics and the taut pretakeover climate in Hong Kong, former CIA and Watergate player Hunt…” What does “Watergate Player” mean? They make Hunt sound like he was working with Woodward and Bernstein. I was later able to identify “Judaism” as Arthur Hertzberg’s Judaism, which I own in a different edition.

I can’t help but wonder what Crate & Barrel is trying to tell me. What were these books doing together? Did someone consciously place these books next to each other? Do I need to buy Dragon Teeth in order for my bookshelf to be complete? Is that what it means to have a model, ideal life?  Who does have these books side by side on their bookshelf? Is it the notorious “Israel Lobby” I’ve been hearing so much about recently? (More on that another time.) I feel there may be a dissertation topic here….