Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The F-Bomb

The power of descriptive adjectives:

Referring to Douglas Feith, the former Pentagon official who helped politicize the intelligence leading up to the war and dropped the ball on post-war planning, [General Tommy Franks] said this: "I have to deal with the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth almost every day."

...in the pages of the New York Times yesterday it took this form: "Gen. Tommy R. Franks of the Army, the top commander of the Iraq invasion, once referred to him as 'the stupidest guy on the face of the earth.'"

Setting aside the fact that the Times messed with the actual quote -- without indicating the omission -- we have been deprived of the full force of Franks's rage. Yes, we still get that the general doesn't like the bureaucrat, but "fucking" is such a taboo adjective that his decision to use it even when talking to Woodward, the administration's most faithful stenographer, shows just how much he wanted to make his contempt for Feith public.

I couldn't agree more. If Gen. Franks was typically a potty-mouth, then the abridgement of his quote would be decorous editing. But even a casual reader would see the clear difference between referring to someone as "the stupidest guy on the face of the earth" and referring to him as "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth", especially in an article documenting the antipathy said guy is enduring.

"I'm not going to shake hands with the guy if he's introduced to me," said Georgetown Philosophy Professor Mark N. Lance. "And if he asks why, I'll say because in my view you're a war criminal and you have no place on this campus."

Make that, "fucking war criminal." So what exactly will Prof. Feith be doing there at Georgetown, besides ducking flung jell-o in the faculty cafeteria?

Mr. Feith will teach a course on the Bush administration's antiterrorism policy.

"I think the war in Iraq is a terrible mistake," [Georgetown Dean] Robert Gallucci said. "But that is not the criteria for whom I bring to campus." He said Mr. Feith, as an architect and advocate of the Iraq war, would "bring to campus something we do not have."

But why stop there? Since Saddam's trial is going nowhere, maybe you can offer him a teaching position, too. Surely a Baathist dictator is "something you do not have."

Charles E. King, a professor at the foreign policy school: "I hope this story does not play out as 'pointy-headed academics diss Republicans'."

Sorry, Charlie. This is fucking America we're fucking talking about.


Blogger mkchicago said...

a propos, I just read this joke today:

Guy walks into a pet store to get some cat food and as he's walking down the aisle, he passes a parrot cage. The parrot inside says, "psst! Hey buddy!" Guy turns around and says, "yes?" The parrot says, "FUCK YOU!" The man is taken aback, but gets his cat food and goes on.

A week later, the same guy comes back for some more cat food and he walks down the aisle, passes the parrot cage and the parrot says, "Pssssst! Hey, Buddy!" The man warily turns to the parrot and says, "Yes?" The parrot says "FUCK YOU!"

The man asks to speak with the manager and says, "Listen, I don't want to take my business elsewhere but that parrot is rude and offensive." The manager apologizes and assures the man it will NEVER HAPPEN again.

So a week later, the man comes to the pet store for some cat food and he passes the parrot cage and the parrot says, "Psssst! Hey, buddy!" The man slowly turns and says, "what?" The parrot nods and says, "You know what."

3:23 PM  

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