Thursday, August 16, 2007

"The Argument"

Matt Bai covers national politics for the New York Times Magazine.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new book, The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics, and reported the following:
Crack open The Argument to page 69, and you will be introduced to a guy named Chuck Fazio. Chuck isn’t a main character of the book, so in that sense, at least, the page isn’t terribly representative of the whole. In a deeper sense it is, but let’s hold off on that. First, back to Chuck.

It’s the summer of 2005, and Chuck, a member of, is hosting a house party at his place in northern Virginia to rally fellow progressives against the next Supreme Court nominee.

“Fazio’s home was in a pricey suburban enclave, a two-level ramble with lots of windows, long and low in a faint imitation of Frank Lloyd Wright. In the carport were two BMWs (a convertible and a sports coupe), along with a white Ford Explorer … ‘We’re supposed to have 40 people,’ Chuck said nervously. He was 44, with slicked-back, a dark goatee and wraparound shades. ‘Where are they all?’ ”

In the ensuing pages, they all show up, and Chuck turns out to be a really nice guy who’s been driven to obsession by the fact that he happens to live across the street from a legendary conservative activist. Chuck wants to pee in his pool.

Here’s why Chuck Fazio, despite his very brief appearance in the book, is nonetheless emblematic of it: The Argument is, at bottom, a book about ordinary people seizing control of the Democratic Party. Some of them are really rich. Some of them live in remote houses in the mountains and spend all their time online. Some of them, like Chuck, are just ordinary voters who’ve had enough of failed politics or who fear the direction of their government. The Argument is about the formative stages of a political movement — the first popular movement of the Internet age — and it’s a movement built on people like Chuck Fazio.

How sturdily is it built? Well, for that you’ve got to read the whole damn thing.
Read more about The Argument at the publisher's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue