“The Idiots” by Joseph Conrad
We were driving along the road from Treguier to Kervanda. We passed at a smart trot between the hedges topping an earth wall on each side of the road; then at the foot of the steep ascent before Ploumar the horse dropped into a walk, and the driver jumped down heavily from the box. He flicked his whip and climbed the incline, stepping clumsily uphill by the side of the carriage, one hand on the footboard, his eyes on the ground. After a while he lifted his head, pointed up the road with the end of the whip, and said–
The sun was shining violently upon the undulating surface of the land. The rises were topped by clumps of meagre trees, with their branches showing high on the sky as if they had been perched upon stilts. The small fields, cut up by hedges and stone walls that zig-zagged over the slopes, lay in rectangular patches of vivid greens and yellows, resembling the unskilful daubs of a naive picture. And the landscape was divided in two by the white streak of a road stretching in long loops far away, like a river of dust crawling out of the hills on its way to the sea.
“Here he is,” said the driver, again. Continue reading ““The Idiots” — Joseph Conrad”
Yesterday, CNN’s Political Ticker blog published a short piece on Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher (you know, that dick who landed on our Worst People of 2008 list). Wurzelbacher is covering the Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza for a conservative website called Pajamas Media. In the report, Joe waxes philosophical on the nature of war and freedom of the press:
“I think media should be abolished from, you know, reporting,” Wurzelbacher said. “You know, war is hell. And if you’re gonna sit there and say, ‘well, look at this atrocity,’ well you don’t know the whole story behind it half the time, so I think the media should have no business in it.”
So, let’s figure out Joe’s line of reasoning: War is bad. We don’t know “the whole story” behind the situations and circumstance in which war occurs. Therefore, because we don’t know “the whole story,” we should cease from any “you know, reporting.” To simplify it further: We do not know certain things. News reporters, whose job it is is to determine and then report these certain things we do not know, do not know these certain things. Because reporters do not know these certain things (these certain things there job is to determine), they should be stopped from determining the truth of these unknown certain things.
We all owe Joe a debt of gratitude for demonstrating the rhetorical art of paradox so beautifully. A regular Xeno, this guy. Additionally, Joe here graces us with not only a demonstration of paradox, but also gives us a great model of irony–a reporter (okay, an unlicensed plumber pretending to be a reporter) ostensibly reporting a war calling for the abolishment of the reporting of war! Bravo! Now, if Joe could please give us a better demonstration of a prick by proceeding to fuck himself with a hat pin, I believe we would all be thrilled.