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Webb Hits The Big Time

Esquire magazine has scooped all those publications foolishly waiting until 2099 and gone ahead and named Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) one of the "75 most influential people of the 21st." He joins A-Rod, Will Smith, David Petraeus and 71 other influential folks.

The interview includes some classic Webb, the kind of stuff you're unlikely to hear from any other senator. Just one example:

"When I decided to write, rather than going to a creative-writing class or something, I chose the people that I thought were the great novelists, at least of the 20th century, and I studied them--you know, Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, and the British and the Irish poets.

"I was reading A Moveable Feast, Hemingway's memoir about his years in Paris, and there was a passage in which he said he learned how to write by studying Cézanne paintings. I had Thursday afternoons free that semester, and Georgetown Law School was just six blocks away from the National Gallery. So I started going down to the National Gallery. That was the first time that I really understood there was such a thing as art. I started trying to understand why they put certain things in and why they didn't. Just on my own, looking at them. I had just finished reading A Farewell to Arms, and I walked into a room and there was a painting on the wall, and I said, 'If Hemingway had painted, he would have painted that picture.' And it was a Cézanne."