I Like __ A Lot
I like Donald Rumsfeld a lot
In 2003 (sorry I’m late) Hart Seely, a reporter and occasional humorist, arranged Donald Rumsfeld’s evasive paradox-ridden Pentagon briefings and media interviews into poems, collected in Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld. Political satire is not new territory, but this is just awesome. Here is an example:
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.
Department of Defense news briefing
Feb. 12, 2002
A great move by Seely, but what struck me even more so was how strange Rumsfeld’s mind worked. I can’t decide if this is Kant or autism. The following are quotes from him:
“I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started.”
“Osama Bin Laden is either alive and well or alive and not too well or not alive.”
“I believe what I said yesterday. I don’t know what I said, but I know what I think, and, well, I assume it’s what I said.”
“There’s another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.”
Imagine you had lies inside you, but that the truth – or at least the semblance of it – had to somehow come out of your mouth. You couldn’t really say anything substantive, but what you said had to be dense; and it would have to technically be rational, yet oblique and vague enough to be immune to accountability. You had to dismiss questions by supplying words which sounded, even felt, like answers — concepts so redundant yet complex, one had difficulty understanding if they understood it. By the time one realized all this ‘reasonableness’ actually didn’t make any sense, you would be long gone, gnawing on some jerky in a limousine somewhere. And you had to improvise this every day, form new ways of saying old things.
Rumsfeld’s agenda for which such (anti?) rhetoric was employed was at best questionable, but this post is not about politics. His tranquilizing craft of words was brilliant, mentally numbing. I like Donald Rumsfeld a lot.
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