Speechification

It goes a bit like this:

Americans are fat people with hunting rifles in enormous cars. They are led by a rich idiot cowboy who would rather drive his gas-guzzling cavalcade over the supine bodies of his country’s underclass than sign binding agreements with other peace-loving nations. They make vulgar films, which they force upon us like their greasy fast food and corporate rock. They send billions looted in their Third-World imperialist adventures to support the apartheid regime in Israel that cages the Palestinian people who only wish to be left alone to tend the fields they have cultivated since the dawn of time. They had 9/11 coming to them, the bastards.

Most people who express sympathy for “militants” have never bothered to read their public pronouncements. Most people who express antipathy for George Bush have never even skim-read one of his speeches.

I hate going back to primary sources. They are always a fag to track down, sometimes they have to be photocopied expensively by the British Library, and when you find them they can be verbose and painful to read. (Step forward, Charles Darwin.) Because it is difficult to read primary sources, often scholars don’t read them. Because they don’t read them, they use secondary or tertiary sources to inform their judgements. Because the secondary or tertiary sources are frequently wrong or biased, those scholars’ judgements are frequently wrong or biased.

In these important times you can inform your own judgements about World affairs by reading cartoons like this (easy) or by reading speeches like this (difficult). (At least you didn’t have to order it from the British Library.)

In the latter, an address made by George Bush in Whitehall, there is self-deprecating humour, an acute awareness of the state of the nations, and of their people’s perceptions of the speaker. Of course there is also a nice Bushism:

The second pillar of peace and security in our world is the willingness of free nations, when the last resort arrives, to retain [sic] aggression and evil by force.

Most importantly the text contains a profoundly radical admission that U.S. foreign policy must change. Bush implies that there will be no more sons-of-bitches representing Anglo interests in the un-free world, well, not American ones, anyway. Read the words of the idiot cowboy (though I’m not naïve enough to believe he wrote them with his own soft hand), then go back to the cartoon and ask yourself who lives in a bubble.

5 Comments

  1. Wiqqi
    Posted 26Nov03 at 11:19 | Permalink

    Field Negro Vs Gullible Negro

    The only other person that gave this speech any import was Bush’s former speechwriter – the one who came up with “axis of evil”. Even among orientalist loonies, I find your faith in that speech quite remarkable. Anyway, I think Channel 4 news ran this report about a day or so after the Whitehall address.
    http://www.channel4.co.uk/news/2003/11/week_3/18_guinea.html

    This, I have to point out, is only one of MANY bubble bursting example. We can have this conversation again in 5 years time and I’ll prove to you how profoundly non-radical the change has been.

    Peace and sons-of-bitches!

    Waqas

  2. Posted 26Nov03 at 11:58 | Permalink

    Wiqqi!

    There’s lots of other stuff on the Channel 4 site, like this hard-hitting interview with Saddam Hussein and a chance to win a copy of John Pilger‘s latest book. Pilger: now there’s a man who knows about gullibility.

    D

  3. Wiqqi
    Posted 26Nov03 at 03:51 | Permalink

    So? I didn’t say anything about John Pilger. D! you can indulge in all the left-bashing you want, I couldn’t care less. Exhilirating as it may be, it’s no excuse for false and culturally biased judgements.

    I make no secret of the fact that, though I disagree greatly with the left, I find the free marketeers of the right to be far more despicable, greedy and dangerous. I don’t even have to parody their views, I’m sure you’re aware of this site:
    http://www.newamericancentury.org/

    I’m still in the process of studying the articles here. From my reading so far, there is of course much talk of spreading democracy and human rights, but it’s all hollow in the face of “full spectrum dominance”. All I can say is that I am (along with many others – Muslim and non-Muslim) committed to seeing this defeated. At least it’s a far more considered way of picking a side than talking about our “bad guys” and their “bad guys”.

  4. Posted 26Nov03 at 04:22 | Permalink

    And my original point was about the gap between people’s perception of George Bush and his own words, which most of his critics never bother to read.

    I never said that Bush was going to stop propping up dictators, merely that, unlike presidents of the United States who have preceded him, he had acknowledged in public that that was a bad policy. I was questioning people’s perception of him, not being “gullible” about his intentions.

    Channel 4, on the other hand, actively assisted a dictator in making his case at a time when all relevant international organisations were agreed he was in multiple breach of a cease-fire agreement and when many of those organisations had recognized his record of atrocities.

    I brought up John Pilger because he is a favourite of Channel 4′s and because his documentaries have repeatedly been shown to be at the very least misleading and at worst just untrue. The implication was that people should place limited trust in any other programme (including the one you linked to) released through a media outlet characterized by partisan and distorted broadcasts, ones rather more gullible about the words of dictators than I have ever been about Bush.

    The problem I have with some “field negros” is that they haven’t realised that the Bwana in the Big House who’s exploiting them isn’t a white guy any more. He hasn’t been for decades. But there are plenty of white guys coming round for a cup of tea with him. After their visits they tell the police to mind their own business and let him get on with oppressing his people. To my chronic embarrassment a lot of Bwana’s house guests fancy themselves as socialists.

    When Bush lies for and connives with dictators “it’s all about oil”. Channel 4 doesn’t even have that excuse.

  5. Wiqqi
    Posted 27Nov03 at 04:23 | Permalink

    Movable Hype!

    What sort of pointless point are you trying make? Bush makes a speech on a state visit to this country, at the height of his unpopularity, on the cusp of an election campaign and you cite this speech, which you accept was written for him, as an example of how he is wrongly “perceived” by his critics??? While at the same time you accept that it doesn’t mean he will actually do what he says, but those who “perceive” him wrongly should still take note…? OK, I’ll take back gullible – you’re obviously being frivolous.

    I’m surprised and a bit baffled by the attack on Channel 4, but I’ll let it go, it’s not really the point. American involvement in Equatorial Guinea is a matter of public record, I first heard of it from a friend who was involved in the oil industry throughout the 90′s. The Baku-Ceyhan pipeline is also a matter of public record, as is the presence of US troops in Uzbekistan. Anyone with even a grain of objectivity would think about THIS gap. I’ll totally accept that bush is the most intelligent-thoughtful-moral-peace-loving-born-again-christian-mnother-f*ck the world has ever known – show me the policies!!!

    Bwana in the Big House has been up for eviction for a long time. But he’s in bed with some seriously rich and powerful white folks, getting down to some seriously kinky shit. You should take the time to go over and see for yourself. If you were just, you’d want them all to be lynched!

    Anyway, hope you’re around tomorrow, I have some nice Baklava from Turkey ;)

    Waqas

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