Billionaire mayor Mike Bloomberg likes John LeCarre. He said as much whilst visiting a Bronx high school English class. As self styled ‘education mayor’, the man who spent more than $100m for a third term in office and with a narrow margin of 4 percent got to stay mayor. [So much for the power of money when the electorate does not think highly of you!]
The object of Bloomberg’s pitch is to encourage students to read more since reading scores of New York’s public and charter [read private] and parochial schools remain disappointingly low.
Of course, the mayor eats up financial publications, he has a business to run as a financier, as well as biographies, non fiction best sellers with a history slant.
His admission that enjoys a rattling spy novel, particularly LeCarre’s ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ sought to send a message to ‘underachieving’ young readers to read more. A laudable goal. Bloomberg had also gone with his squeeze to see the film based on the LeCarre book which is currently playing in New York to a good gate. Saying this, it makes you wonder whether a high school student would rather plonk down $13 to see Gary Oldman as George Smiley, LeCarrer’s relentless hero than sloughing through more than 400 pages of prose?
You have to hand it to Bloomberg wanting to pitch the value of reading books. And yet, fiction takes last place among the books he reads. ‘Johnny Tremain’, a 1943 patriotic children’s story about the American revolution, is the only other book the mayor endorses.
Has Bloomberg made a ‘Freudian slip’ in his choice of reading matter? Maybe. The no nonsense mayor likes to think of himself as fair minded and running a ship of the city on even keel. He is and can be moralistic, as he has a big ego for running a police department with ties to the FBI and CIA, and backing up his police chief Raymond Kelly who is under fire for racial profiling, massaging the truth until he is caught in the act and forced to admit the truth and apologise, and other questionable practices. Consider his participation in the Israeli financed ‘Third Jihad’ which questioned the loyalty of all law abiding American Muslims.
Bloomberg, intoxicated as he is with LeCarre, fancies himself as head of New York’s combined equivalent of Britain’s MI-5 [read, FBI] and MI-6 [CIA], as well as general of commando attacks in full riot gear against ‘Occupy Wall Street’.
Is old Mike New York’s George Smiley, the mild manner, savvy bureaucrat who nabs the bad guys? You better believe it: his actions speak louder than his quiet words: he has tasted the power of male fantasy and may even think under the cover of a gentle, reasonable mien, he’s really James Bond.