Saturday, December 24, 2011


Here's a blog post from James Fallows. It's entitled "A Brilliant Doonesbury Today" and reproduces that Doonesbury and then notes he, Fallows, agrees.  This is pretty big news--someone is still reading Doonesbury.

The "brilliant" strip is yet another piece where Gary Trudeau reminds us he opposes the Iraq War. It's three panels of a professor lecturing his students (actually us) on what Trudeau believes and ends with his patented anticlimax gag.

The joke is based on two odd premises.  First, that Iraq was "the biggest foreign policy disaster in U.S. history." I can see how people might still argue if the war was a good idea or not, but it's just childish to claim that nothing worse has ever happened in our history.  I suppose, though, within the Trudeau/Fallows axis, that's a matter of faith (or Feith).

Second, it's stated no one has taken responsibility for it--Trudeau even provides names, so we won't forget.  This, apparently, is the part that Fallows thinks is brilliant, since he quotes Trudeau on the point and simply adds "correct." (Glad he did, or I would have thought the whole post was a burn on Trudeau.)

I honestly don't understand what Trudeau is saying.  The names he mentions--Cheney, Rumsfeld, Feith and others--have all written books where they discuss the war and their part in it.  So has Trudeau not heard about these books, or is he miffed that they refuse to claim it's the disaster he thinks it is and take full responsibility?

I'm not sure what's more bizarre--the Trudeau comic or that Fallows thought he needed to reproduce it just to say he agrees.  But posts like this do help explain why he won't allow comments.

PS  In the list of "architects of Bush's War," Trudeau doesn't bother to mention the man most responsible--Bush himself. I guess the President merely being a puppet is another one of those beliefs that Trudeau and Fallows share.


Anonymous Lawrence King said...

As far as I can tell, the chain of logic of many, many American liberals (perhaps a majority?) is this:

1. Bush's public speeches were unimpressive: he was a poor orator, and sometimes mangled his words or diction.

2. Bush is stupid.

3. Bush was a puppet of Cheney and the other smart people who surrounded him.

Claim 3 is deduced from claim 2. (As far as I know, nobody has even bothered to offer an argument for 3 other than asserting 2.) And in fact, such a deduction is logical, and a compliment of sorts. If a president were stupid and wise, he would prudently choose to be guided by the advice of smart people.

I am fairly sure that 2 is deduced from 1. This is the utterly illogical part. Individually, all of us know very smart people who are horrible public speakers. But we almost never see such people on TV -- because television shows deliberately choose people who are good at speaking.

In my judgment, then, the chain of illogic from #1 to #2 is only possible because people watch so much television. A hundred years ago, even the average voter knew that a politician could be smart and yet a bad orator. People like Fallows no longer know that this is possible.

1:06 PM, December 25, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're missing the bigger point. For liberal pundits, the default assumption is conservatives are stupid. After all, why would they believe such stupid things, i.e., what conservatives normally believe. A lot of Democrats, such as Joe Biden, say stupid things all the time, but are not attacked for being idiots.

The only other default setting, and this is when conservatives are obviously smart, is that they're diabolical.

I guess there's a third default setting. Maverick. That's when they're not really so conservative and deserve to be rewarded.

2:52 PM, December 25, 2011  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Good point. When Dustin Hoffman played Captain Hook in "Hook", he mentioned in an interview that he chose to pattern the character after William F. Buckley, because Buckley was diabolically evil.

10:46 PM, December 27, 2011  

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