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Opinion: Summer Reading, Part II

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Summer Reading for Area Players

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When the weather started heating up, I recommended some summer reading for Governors Martin O’Malley and Bob McDonnell, as well as Mayor Vince Gray.

Labor Day is just three weeks away, but there is still time to grab a book and head to the beach.

With that in mind, here are some reading suggestions for a few other players in the region:

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

MWAA, the 13-member body charged with overseeing Reagan National and Dulles International airports, is the subject of a scathing federal report that pointed to conflicts of interests, lack of transparency and lavish travel spending. MWAA has also come under fire from local leaders for its handling of the “Silver Line” Metro extension.

Forget about Fifty Shades of Grey, MWAA's summer novel should be Fear of Flying by Erica Jong. The 1973 book drew controversy for its depiction of female sexuality in a promiscuous manner. In it, the protagonist Isadora Wing indulges her fantasies.

The groundbreaking page-turner is said to have resonated with women who felt trapped in unfulfilling marriages.

The marriage of MWAA to our transportation needs is unfulfilling for many people.

MWAA could learn a lot from Wing, whose mission is unclouded.

As Jong observed about her central character's trysts, “No one is trying to […] get anything out of anyone […] There is no power game.”

Freeing oneself from ulterior motives is honest, liberating and efficient.

Robert Griffin III

Though Griffin is probably too busy to get to the beach, in between workouts at Redskins training camp the young quarterback should check out Red Alert, by Peter George.

Stanley Kubrick's film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is loosely based on the George book.

Both stories explore the ease with which a nuclear war can be triggered.

Griffin must do everything humanly possible to avoid the high expectations that are thrust upon him. A few wins or one spectacular performance is all it will take for fans and the media to initiate a launch sequence that will prematurely propel the Redskins, like a missile that can’t be recalled, to the Super Bowl.

In the Kubrick film, madness reigns supreme. Atomic war is not averted. The world explodes in a giant flaming ball.

In the George novel, a bomber aircraft falls out of radio contact while generals are trying to halt its mission. The bomb, though, fails to hit its target, thus preempting a retaliatory strike that would have set off a nuclear holocaust.

The lesson for Griffin: Stay in touch with reality. Demand the same from fans and the media.

Ron Machen

As U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Machen has been heading up a myriad of investigations into local government and campaigns. He and his team have already taken down two elected officials and a bunch of other corrupt political players.

Machen has earned some time at the beach.

While on vacation he should read Work and Days, the ancient Greek didactic poem written by Hesiod. Within its 800 verses is the story of Pandora’s Box, a vessel that contained all the evils of the world.

Like Pandora, Machen opened a box without fully knowing its contents. No doub, he has since discovered that replacing the lid is pointless. It is plain for everyone to see that Machen’s Box is a can of worms that, for now, appears to be bottomless.

After much despair, Pandora discovered that at the bottom of her box lay Elpis, the Spirit of Hope.

It is hard to know if an Elpis exists beneath the squirming worms through which Machen must sort. One thing, though, is certain: This story is to be continued…

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