Thursday, November 13, 2003

OK, never mind

definition of the word 'irony.'

Incongruity between what is expected and what happens is irony, according to this dictionary--"between what might be expected and what actually occurs."

It's somewhat vague. For example, I might expect water to come out of the taps in my sink. And yet they turned off the water to work on the pipes...Can I say "how ironic, we have no water!"

Well, I could...of course. But it just wouldn't be right.

I still think the New Yorker this week has a misuse of irony--God forbid--in the last sentence: "Last week, Clark called for a new overseer in Iraq, accountable to an international body. Richard Holbrooke, for one, thinks that Wes Clark would have been the perfect choice to oversee the nation-building following George Bush's war. 'That is the supreme irony in all this,' he said."

That is not a contrast between what we expected and what happened, not exactly. Instead it is a contrast between how things are and how they might have been.

I guess I'm nit picking.

(Usually, when people care about shite like this I get very annoyed so I'll shut up now. I hate language nit picking. I don't know why. Perhaps it was one of the things I first found traumatic when forced to move to the East Coast and hang around with graduates of swanky colleges...Well, not forced...I was bribed by a rich university and lacked the willpower to resist the idea of getting paid not to work for years on end...I thought I could stay pure but I ended up a little bit like them and so am tormented with the occasional desire to throttle myself. Still, it was nice to lie around doing nothing all those years even though I do read the New Yorker now.)

Speaking of the New Yorker, this is a great story from Haruki Murakami. The other story I've read of his in the NY-er was also fab.

This is the Wes Clark story...

It's fascinating. This article shows you the subtle way one can smear someone. After reading the article you think you've been told something bad about Wes Clark. (Besides the fact his name is 'Wes.' That's kind of a sucky name.) But you haven't. You only think you have. You know: People didn't like him. Also: He wanted to do the Kosovo thing and it didn't work out perfectly. (None of the reasons discussed seem to be his fault.) He got fired and lots of people whose interests one might suspect anyway don't like him. Finally, he doesn't blink often and is 'stiff.'

I don't care. I have no strong views on Clark...But it is intriguing that they get these people to say: "That guy's a real jerk! He's a rotten person!" and this is very damning politically. In fact, it's a bit scary it can be so easy to destroy someone this way.

Somehow the article makes you think that there's something wrong with the guy without ever quite explaining what that is. Then you remember: Gee, the guy we got now is a guy that everyone likes. Why, I don't think anyone's been more likable since...Reagan!

So maybe that's how we get guys like these for President?


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