Friday, March 23, 2007


From a letter Martha Gellhorn wrote in 1967 after a selection of her war reporting was brought out as THE FACE OF WAR (one of my all time favorite books and looks at history as it happened) and she went on her first press tour:

“…The English jaunt was incredible: 8 cities in 5 days: Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin. 8 Press Conferences, 4 telly interviews, 2 radio interviews; I never saw anything more ghastly. I fooled everyone by never mentioning my book but talking only about/against the Vietnam war…And I learned a lot because now I know, as fact, what I’ve always surmised: our rulers travel like this on a grander scale, everything arranged, straight from train or plane into waiting car to waiting reception to press conference to talk with one or more of their own kind. You never see the people in the street, you never are in the street; one place is like another; there is absolutely no contact ever with daily reality, with the strains and stresses of real life as lived by real people, and you are always the star, always telling, never listening, never learning. No wonder they rule us as if we were punched cards for a computer and they the computers. They don’t know anything else.”

And, as the perfect example of what Gellhorn is talking about, the people who live that way all the time, these quotes from transcripts reprinted in The New York Times, from Barbara Bush.

First, her comments to Diane Sawyer on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on March 18, 2003, the day before the invasion of Iraq, about her choice not to watch TV coverage of the war once it begins:

“Why should we hear about body bags and deaths, and how many, what day it’s going to happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it’s, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?”

And in 2005 while visiting the victims of Katrina at the Houston Astrodome:

“And so many people in the area here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this—this is working very well for them.”


Rose said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Doodle said...

Gee, Lols, I wonder what comment you deleted. It wasn't me.

And don't forget Laura Bush (as seen on the Daily Show) asserting that things in Iraq were really going better than people think because all we hear about is that one bombing a day. And was it Westmoreland who put forward the notion in Vietnam days that Asians had a different attitude about life and death; implicitly, no one should get too upset about them dying at our hands in great numbers. Oh, the examples are endless. No one having it good wants to admit that they're mostly just plain lucky; they all want to think that they're deserving, an argument most easily made (to the small of mind) by promoting the idea of the undeserving nature of the less fortunate. As though inherited economic advantage (or disadvantage) manifests anything other than entropy.

If all Brahmins had to live as Untouchables for a year, that would probably put a permanent end to Untouchability.



The Kid said...

Oh the pain of reversing one's direction! How tightly we cling to being right, no matter the cost to ourselves or the rest of the world. When W. says, with his family-financed & inherited self-righteousness, "We won't cut and run" he announces his inability to admit when he's been wrong. And that's the most dangerous weakness for anyone with power to have (parents, teachers, doctors, priests.) From my man Tolstoy: "I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." (And Doodle, if men had to give birth, that would put an end to the 40+% rate of Caesarean Sections.)

Doodle said...

Forget Caesarians, Kid: if men gave birth, to a considerable extent that would reduce the rate of pregnancies. And, in those famous words from the feminist movement nearly forty years ago now, If men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.