No one asked for this.

Gary Newsom sitting and reading the book 'Beloved' by Toni Morrison
Twitter/Gavin Newsom
Time To Log Off
Originally Published: 

Gavin Newsom and your pristine stack of banned books, it’s time to log off

Time to Log Off is a weekly series documenting the many ways our political figures show their whole asses online.

Ordinarily, when someone proves themselves to be aggressively, embarrassingly too online, I would recommend they log off and, oh, say, read a nice book or something. But in this instance, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken the wind right out of my sails, or snatched the rug out from under me, or whatever other sort of glib cliché you find most appropriate for the fact that he is not only in desperate need of logging off, but that it stems from his similarly desperate need to be a total douche about what he’s reading right now:

Let’s go over what we’re all looking at, here, just to make sure we’re on the same page (ha ha ha).

This is the governor of the fifth-largest economy on Earth, sitting in what seems to be an empty restaurant (I’m sure his friends are all just out of frame, laughing too), reading a stack of pristine new novels — not a single crease on a single spine in the bunch! — as a totally natural, not at all staged attempt to dunk on the conservative communities enthusiastically banning notable pieces of writing they find offensive or challenging or just too darn icky for their delicate literary palates.

What, I ask, is the point of staging an unbearably transparent photo op where you pretend to read a stack of books frequently assigned to 15-year-olds — including ones that were themselves banned in his own dang state? Who is this for? Wasn’t anyone on the governor’s staff brave enough to speak up and point out that this whole thing is Extremely Stupid? Did he even end up ordering any food?

I hate it. I hate everything about it. I hate how obviously fake it is, and I hate the implication that Newsom is some literary intellectual studying the classics to dunk on his rivals when he should, I’dunno, be running his state or something. Gavin, my man, my guy. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but close the books, return them to Barnes & Noble for your 70 bucks of store credit or whatever, and if you really need some time to unwind, go ... god ... go log off and play a video game or something.