“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

beating some horses

This blog does try to take our far flung correspondent T.’s advice about leaving dead horses unpummeled – but sometimes, Christopher Hitchens provides such an irresistible target that we can’t, we just can’t. Forgive me, Mr. T!

Anyway, this is just to note that the pluminess, pomposity and egotism with which the man’s mind is furnished is busy producing a form of prose that sounds exactly like the parody of the English celeb journalist in this video by IT’s friend, Jeremy Mcclintock

This comes from his latest article in Slate, entitled, Don’t Blame me, blame the evil Islamofascists against which I struggle like a veritable Hercules:

“The only way of preventing this triumph of the democratic heresy, wrote Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was to make life so unbearable for the heretical Shiites that they would respond in kind. The ensuing conflict would ruin all the plans of the Crusader-Zionist alliance. I can still remember the chill that went through me when I read this document and realized that it combined extreme radical evil with a high degree of intelligence.”

“I can still remember the chill…” This is the kind of writing you do when you never quite got over those G.A. Henty adventure stories you read as a boy.

Hitchens, however, is too much of a joke to be a lot of fun bitching about anymore.

On the other hand, John Burns, the Iraqi correspondent for the NYT who was one of the little warriors in 2003, is now all about explaining the woe and American innocence in an interview highlighted on The Corner and pointed to (which is how we came by it) by Matt Yglesias. Yglesias has an inexplicable affection for Burns. We don’t.

This exchange is all about the blind praising the blind for their mutually satisfying depth perception:

“Russert: John, was it possible for our policy makers to truly understand the way Iraqis would have reacted? The judgments made here were that when we went in we would be greeted as quote, "liberators," to quote Dick, Vice President's Cheney's phrase, that they were prepared, in effect, to take governing into their own hands, that they were so upset and had been so downtrodden by Saddam Hussein that they would embrace democracy and rise up, almost immediately.

Burns: Well first of all, I think, again, to be fair, the American troops were greeted as liberators. We saw it. It lasted very briefly, it was exhausted quickly by the looting and the astonishment and puzzlement and finally anger of Iraqis that nothing, or very little was done to stop that. I think that to be fair to the United States, when I speak as a citizen of the United Kingdom, I think that the instincts that led to much that went wrong were good American instincts: the desire not to have too heavy of a footprint, the desire to empower Iraqis.”

On Matt’s site, I commented at some length of the absurdity of the ‘desire not to have too heavy a footprint”, otherwise known as trying to run a war and cut taxes for the wealthy at the same time. The light footprint effect was seen in New Orleans during and after Katerina too – those idealistic Americans, just empowering the weak like nobody’s business! And – of course – down memory hole is the fact that there has never been an occupation anywhere without looting, and the American response – darling idealists, those Americans – was to guard the Oil Ministry. There are other synonyms for America’s good instincts: blind smugness, criminal greed, incompetence, featherbedding, neo-imperial warmongering – oh, give me a thesaurus and I’ll be here for a week.

But - I suppose I should just say – I still remember the chill that went through me when I read Burns’s malefic words.


northanger said...

i guess you really can't trust a white man with afro.

unapologetically malefic.

roger said...

I knew Burns had a big beard, but I didn't know he was sportin an afro. Of course, my knowledge of the talking heads is purely from print - i'm not a watcher of news shows on tv. I've never really bought an antenna, which means I only get the Fox channel, and that only comes in faintly, over a tide of static, like ignorant armies clashing by night.

Hey, but now I've got DSL. Hmmm, I could go over to Youtube and look up Burns.

northanger said...

that man has serious hair & leather jacket! even if qualified, NYT wouldn't hire me if i walked in with that bad hair day.

talking about fox noise, olbermann did a piece on murdoch's comments at davos (go to countdown's main page for the video).