Monday, December 20, 2004

Hugging the Horse

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is regarded as one of the finest minds Europe has ever produced. Plagued by a family history of mental disease, ill health, and possibly by advanced syphilis, the philosopher who produced the towering works Beyond Good and Evil, On The Genealogy of Morals, The Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist, Ecce Homo, The Case of Wagner, and Nietzsche Contra Wagner between 1886 and 1888, suffered a complete nervous collapse in 1889 at the sight of a coachman whipping a horse in Turin, Italy. Found weeping and embracing the animal, Nietzsche spent the last decade of his life in an asylum and in his family's care, a brain once like a bright scalpel collapsing into utter ruin at the stroke of an instant.

Which brings us to William Safire today.

Today, as is his increasingly disturbing wont, Safire wandered off the grounds and into the Hundred-Acre-Wood surrounding what we in the reality-based community refer to as "reality". Out in the wilderness, Bill found this revelation of an alternate history where the United States didn't invade Iraq:
Dissolve to a scene in a Tikrit palace where Saddam lays out his plan to (a) amass billions through a U.N. oil-for-food scam and his secret oil pipeline to Syria,
Which would have taken (a) decades Saddam didn't have (mortal as he is) and (b) a pipeline that didn't exist
(b) increase contacts with Al Qaeda,
Who hated him and would have danced with joy to his secular leadership ended... oh wait, that happened, didn't it?
(c) take leadership of the Arab world by developing W.M.D. or pretending to have them already
Because, clearly, THAT worked for 10 years in the 1990s
, and (d) openly challenging Bush.
Yeah, well, he did that. Sort of.

Agree with him or not, once you could count on Safire for a well-reasoned argument, rather than portraits of a fantasy land where he wasn't dead wrong for four solid years on politics. It's a shame to watch a fine mind disintegrate so publicly into a lumpy porridge of boot-licking cognitive dissonance, but a mercy he's retiring from his regular column. If only he had bowed out before the sand of the actual began running through his fingers.

Next time: Bill Safire and Dan Rather team up to fight crime!


Blogger Rex Saxi said...

"a lumpy porridge of boot-licking cognitive dissonance,"

Woah--I dream of writing phrases like that!

11:24 PM  

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