Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bush Is Parody Proof

Read an interesting piece by Duke University professor Ariel Dorfman who notes that after a recent conference presentation about how he had supposedly had his conference presentation confiscated by Homeland Security upon his arrival in Miami where he was to make his presentation, and he fictionalized and offered numerous hints and clues to the assembled distinguished professors that his presentation had beeen largely fictitious, he was nevertheless inundated with messages of sympathy and indignation about his treatment. He had made clear (he thought) throughout his presentation that his detainment and subsequent questioning by two Homeland Security agents about the "thesis" of his paper-that American intellectuals could learn from the Chilean example of how to confront authoritarian government-that he was joking. And yet, and yet, he was accosted (pun intended) virtually and in person after the presentation and, as noted, got a lot of sympathy and commisseration, in spite of the rather far-fetched nature of his presentation.

And of course, the point, as Dorfman says, is that the Bush administration has been involved in so many outrages in which their reasoning defies rational explanation and they continue to argue that the Earth is flat in spite of evidence to the contrary that really, even these folks didn't necessarily (and plausibly) recognize that this might be parody. This is what tends to happen when a leadership has been so dishonest and has promoted such intellectually dishonest positions for so long. How can one know that that organization is being honest? It also speaks to future diplomatic and military challenges for the United States in gaining the trust of its allies given how craven and willfully misleading this administration has been. This is a point bought up by Robert Dreyfuss in a piece written for Tom Paine. His point is that in the upcoming face-off with Iran, the US will have a hard time convincing anyone of anything given their flexibility with the truth in addressing the supposed threat of Iraq. And this will get worse before it gets better and diplomats in trouble spots will have even more difficulty than they would have had otherwise in convincing their host governments of the plausibility of US positions. It is also why a show like Saturday Night Live really only pays tribute to the Bush administration these days because unless you are truly truly very harsh on the administration, it's hard to parody such outrageousness. I haven't watched the show much recnetly because the Bush administration actually comes off better on the show than they do in reality, so detached from real concerns are they. The only way to get them as The Daily Show does so well, is use their own words against them. One just can't make fun of such outlandish and unreasonable comments with parody.


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